Syria: Sanctions Harming Children, Sick People

Medicine Imports Grind to Halt Under US, EU Sanctions

A lesson often learned but rarely remember is that sanctions end up harming the most vulnerable civilians in a nation far more than the government. This was seen in Iraq, where international sanctions killed hundreds of thousands of children. It is being seen in Iran, where hospitals are seeing major shortages in medicine and equipment. Now it is also being seen in Syria.

That’s the report from the Syrian government today, which noted that the health care sector and child care have been the hardest hit segments of the Syrian economy as a result of US and EU sanctions imposed during the ongoing civil war.

In Syria the issue was somewhat different, as initially Syria manufactured the vast majority of their own medication. The sanctions have made raw materials harder to acquire, and Syria’s manufacturing center, Aleppo, has been virtually shut down because of the war. This has made Syria struggle to find new sources for medicine, and with the sanctions in place, many nations simply won’t deal with them.

Syrian officials also denied reports that children were being recruited for attacks by both regime and rebels, saying they were unsubstantiated and fraudulent allegations and that it was the sanctions, more than the war, that are harming the nation’s children.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.