US sanctions on four Syrian ministers, rebel leader

Washington: The Obama administration has added four Syrian government ministers to a US terror blacklist as well as the leader of an al Qaeda-linked organisation fighting President Bashar Assad's regime.

Thursday's actions highlight America's twin goals in Syria: It wants the Assad regime to end but doesn't want extremists taking power.

The Treasury Department targeted the defence, health, industry and justice ministers in Assad's government, plus a Syrian TV station and its national airline. Assets they have in the US are blocked; Americans are prohibited from doing business with them.

Meanwhile, the State Department designated Jabhat al-Nusra leader Muhammad al-Jawlani as a "global terrorist," subjecting him to similar sanctions.

It said al-Jawlani aims to create an Islamist state in Syria, and it blamed him for terrorist attacks on civilians.