US pursues multilateral sanctions against Syria despite failure at UN

The Treasury Department is sending its under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, David Cohen, to Switzerland and Turkey this weekend to discuss “issues of common interest, including U.S. efforts to work with international partners to synchronize and expand international sanctions against the Assad regime,” according to a statement from the department. The trip comes after Russia and China last month vetoed a UN resolution that would have imposed economic sanctions against the Assad regime for failing to carry out the UN-sponsored peace plan.

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The situation in Syria is far from being a major issue in the presidential election, but it is one of the issues Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) mentioned in an address criticizing the Obama administration's foreign policy at the Republican convention. 

The Treasury Department has taken a number of recent actions against the Syrian government, including targeting dozens of individuals and companies as well as the Islamist group Hezbollah for their support of Assad's forces.

Cohen will also update foreign officials on the latest sanctions against Iran that Congress adopted before the summer recess, as well as “continued global and regional efforts to disrupt the financing of terrorist groups throughout the Middle East.”