On Jan. 24, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned two Iranian-backed foreign militias operating in Syria and two Iranian civilian airline entities that supported the transport of weapons and personnel to Syria.
“The brutal Iranian regime exploits refugee communities in Iran, deprives them of access to basic services such as education, and uses them as human shields for the Syrian conflict,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. “Treasury’s targeting of Iran-backed militias and other foreign proxies is part of our ongoing pressure campaign to shut down the illicit networks the regime uses to export terrorism and unrest across the globe.”
Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker added: “This is a regime that preys on the most vulnerable — coercing children as young as 14 years old to fight in Syria under the direction of the IRGC-QF, and perpetuating widespread suffering and displacement.”
The two newly designated militias—the Fatemiyoun Division, composed of Afghan nationals, and the Zaynabiyoun Brigade, consisting of Pakistani nationals—prey upon vulnerable migrants, including children, in Iran, forcing them to fight in Syria under threat of arrest or deportation. In Syria, they are led by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) to fight on behalf of the Syrian regime.
The two other entities include Iranian airline Qeshm Fars Air—which has ties to Iran’s long-designated Mahan Air and the IRGC-QF and has transported to Syria weapons and personnel that have propped up the Assad regime and prolonged the conflict—as well as Armenia-based general sales agent (GSA) Flight Travel LLC—for acting as a front for Mahan Air, which was previously designated for transporting weapons and personnel to Syria.
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