WASHINGTON - The US Treasury Department on Wednesday ratcheted up efforts to restrict the Syrian government by adding 29 officials to the list of those facing sanctions.

The United States also designated five companies linked to the Syrian government agency responsible for non-conventional weapons programs, and one company controlled by Rami Makhluf, who the Treasury statement called a "corrupt crony" of President Bashar Assad. The companies and government officials are subject to US and international sanctions.

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Violence in Syria has caused more than 10,000 deaths as Assad has waged a bloody, 15-month crackdown against opposition forces.

The United States is "unwavering" in its commitment "to pressure the Assad regime to end the carnage and relinquish power," David Cohen, the Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.
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