Administration

US preparing new sanctions against Syria

The U.S. will impose new economic sanctions against Syria designed to curb its government's use of chemical weapons, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Friday.

"We view sanctions as being a very important tool," Mnuchin told reporters at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.

The Treasury secretary did not provide specific details about the penalties but said they would come in the "near future."

Mnuchin's announcement is another sign that the Trump administration is escalating its efforts against Syrian President Bashar Assad in response to a deadly gas attack that his forces carried out this week, according to The New York Times.

It came one day after U.S. warships launched 59 cruise missiles at an airfield from which the Syrian military initiated the attack that left dozens dead, including women and children.

Thursday night's strike was the first direct military action the U.S. has taken against Assad, a stark reversal for Trump who repeatedly warned against American involvement in Syria as a private citizen and presidential candidate.

But Trump and his advisers said he changed his mind after seeing horrific images of the dead and wounded broadcast on television.

The U.S. last slapped sanctions on Syria in January under former President Obama in response to chemical weapons use in 2014 and 2015.

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