Syria slams US freezing assets of intel. chief

Syria on Thursday condemned the US government's decision to freeze the assets of Syrian military intelligence chief Assef Shawkat as an "arrogant" attempt to impose America's will on the world. "This decision shows the extent of this administration's arrogant and unilateral practices in its attempts to impose its will on the international community," a Syrian official said in a statement. On Wednesday, the US Treasury Department ordered US banks to block any assets found in the United States belonging to Shawkat. Americans also are barred from doing business with him. The department alleged that Shawkat has played a role in furthering Syria's "support for terrorism and interference in the sovereignty of Lebanon." The Syrian official, who was not named in keeping with government practice, said in the statement the American action "once again proves the US involvement in defending Israel's aggressive policies against the Arabs." The US alleged that Shawkat had dealings with Hezbollah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.