Sanctions stop Syria from using Visa cards
Visa credit cards issued in Syria can no longer be used as of Wednesday, as sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad are imposed.
Wissam Abhu Ghazala, the director of a branch of Lebanon’s Byblos in Damascus, told the AFP news agency on Tuesday that clients were alerted by SMS message that they could no longer use their Visa cards in Syria, or abroad if the card was issued in Syria.
Ali Ismail, manager of import-export company Medsea, suspects that the move was initiated by the US and other Western countries who have threatened to impose sanctions on the Syrian regime.
"This is what the Americans call smart sanctions, targeting senior officials of the (Syrian) regime. Which means that either we are all senior officials or it's just a way of punishing all the Syrian people," Ismail said.
The regime's deadly crackdown on anti-government protests over the past five months has caused outrage in the international community.
US President Barack Obama and his Western allies called for al-Assad to resign last Thursday and increased sanctions against the Syrian regime.
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