WASHINGTON - The Treasury Department on Wednesday sanctioned three companies suspected of aiding the Syrian government, which is fighting opposition forces in a civil war that has killed more than 160,000 people.
Pangates International Corp., a petroleum company based in the United Arab Emirates, was sanctioned for supplying materials to the Syrian government and the Syrian state oil company.
Also sanctioned were Expert Partners and Megatrade, two Syrian-based companies suspected of having links to Syria's weapons programs. The department said the two companies act on behalf of the Scientific Studies and Research Center, the Syrian agency responsible for developing and producing nonconventional weapons and ballistic missiles that already was under U.S.-sanctions.
The action bans Americans from conducting transactions with the companies named and freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.
Since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011, the United States has imposed sanctions on nearly 200 individuals and entities, including the government of Syria, its central bank and affiliated oil companies.