WASHINGTON, May 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Syria International Islamic Bank in an attempt to limit the Bashar al-Assad government's access to the global financial system.
The bank, which has 20 branches and three offices in Syria, helped another blacklisted financial institution, Commercial Bank of Syria, evade Western government sanctions, the U.S. Treasury said.
Syria International Islamic Bank's assets in the United States will be frozen and U.S. firms and individuals are now prohibited from doing business with the designated bank.
The U.S. Treasury "will continue to close off the Assad regime's access to the international financial system," the department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence David Cohen said in a statement.
Treasury's action is aimed at tightening economic pressure on Assad's government after the weekend massacre of more than 100 people in the town of Houla.