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US imposes sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s eldest son Hafez

The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's son Hafez and Syrian businessman Wassim Al Qattan under the recently-passed Caesar Act.

Hafez Al Assad, born in 2001, is the eldest son of the Syrian leader who has ruled since 2000. He is being sanctioned to block the regime from receiving money that would be used to facilitate its activities.

A senior US official said  that this is “in line with our previous designations, which include the father [Bashar] and mother [Asma Al Akhras]".

"We have seen a rise in his [Hafez] prominence in the family," the official said, adding that President Al Assad's adult children "continued to conduct business on behalf of their parents”.

Also designated is Mr Al Qattan, a prominent businessman whose companies run malls and real estate projects in Damascus, the Syrian capital.

He is being sanctioned under what is known as the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act – signed by US President Donald Trump in December – which targets any affiliates of Mr Al Assad.