The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's wife and dozens of others as it vowed a vast pressure campaign under a new law.
"We anticipate many more sanctions and we will not stop until Assad and his regime stop their needless, brutal war against the Syrian people," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
He called the sanctions "the beginning of what will be a sustained campaign of economic and political pressure to deny the Assad regime revenue and support it uses to wage war and commit mass atrocities against the Syrian people."
Pompeo was announcing the coming into force of the Caesar Act, which punishes any companies that work with Assad and has already shaken the fragile Syrian economy.
The first batch of designations target 39 people or entities, including Assad personally as well as his wife Asma -- the first time she has been targeted by US sanctions.
Under the law, any assets in the United States will be frozen.
Pompeo in his statement charged that Asma al-Assad, with the support of her husband and family, "has become one of Syria's most notorious war profiteers."
Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad poses for a picture that appeared in 2019 on the Syrian presidency's Facebook page