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Fresh US sanctions aim to compensate for Washington's failures in Syria: Moscow

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows a view of the main building of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow.

Russia has slammed fresh US sanctions on one of its banks as well as a number of Syrian officials, saying the bans aim to compensate for Washington’s failure to take down the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the United States was trying to punish Moscow for the support it has provided for the Syrian government in the fight against terrorism.

At the request of Damascus, Russia has been assisting Syria through carrying out airstrikes against positions of terrorist groups, including Daesh, in the Arab country since late September 2015.

The Russian ministry said that Washington's "desire for regime change in Syria is so strong that it is ready to help any destructive force,” adding that Russia and Syria were paying the price for resisting terrorism which was not only a threat to Syria but “the whole world.”

The statement added that the sanctions imposed on Friday, which affect several senior Syrian officials, including the ministers of oil and of finance, showed that Washington had no clear picture of the situation in Syria and the realities on the ground in the fight against terrorism.

“This widening of American sanctions against Russia ... at a time when the bloody attacks in Ankara and Berlin should bring reasonable people together to fight the terrorist threat shows that Washington has completely lost its grip on reality,” said the statement.

The new US sanctions against the Syrian officials and a Russian bank come days after Syria, backed by Russia and other allies, managed to fully liberate the northwestern city of Aleppo from the militants.

Syrians and their allied forces have gained other major victories in the fight against militants over the past months, much to the dismay of certain governments in the Middle East and in the West, which have been supporting the anti-Syria militant groups since a conflict began in the Arab country nearly six years ago.

Syrians celebrate on December 22, 2016 in the city of Aleppo, after the army said it had retaken full control of the country's second city. (Photo by AFP) 

“We will not give in to sanctions,” said the statement, adding that the targeted Russian bank, as well as other companies previously affected by US sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, were “functioning normally.”

The US and allies in Europe have imposed an array of economic sanctions on Russia over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the conflict in Ukraine’s east since 2014. Moscow denies the allegation. 

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