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House passes bill to crack down on Syria’s financial backers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-led House has overwhelmingly approved legislation that crack downs on financial supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

Lawmakers passed the bipartisan bill Wednesday by voice vote. The Senate must now act before the measure can be sent to the president.

The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and backed by Rep. Ed Royce of California, the panel’s chairman.

The Syria bill targets key backers of Assad such as Russia and Iran by requiring the president to sanction countries or companies that do business with or provide financing to the Syrian government or to Syria’s central bank.

Engel and Royce say the legislation will help cut off the resources Assad needs to run his “war machine.”

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