Senate Democrats block bill on new US sanctions against Syria over govt shutdown

US Senate Democrats have prevented consideration of a bill on new sanctions against the Syrian government in protest against the government shutdown. The bill called Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act seeks to target Syria and its allies – Russia and Iran – with new sanctions as well as to boost US security cooperation with Israel and Jordan, Sputnik reports. The legislation was supported by 56 out of 100 senators, while 60 votes were needed for further consideration of the bill. The Democrats’ decision to block the bill came amid the government shutdown caused by the bipartisan budget disagreements.