The US has issued a 180-day exemption for its sanctions on Syria that applies to “all transactions related to earthquake relief efforts,” according to the US Treasury Department.
The exemption was announced on Thursday night and came days after a devastating earthquake hit northern Syria and Turkey. As of Sunday, over 33,000 people have been killed in the earthquake. More than 4,500 people died in Syria, and at least 29,605 have been killed in Turkey.
In the wake of the earthquake, the head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) detailed how US and other Western sanctions were impeding the relief effort. After growing calls to lift sanctions, the US issued the exemption, but UN experts say more needs to be done.
“While welcoming steps taken to suspend some sanctions on Syria, I call all sanctioning states to lift sanctions, to open all ways to deliver humanitarian aid and to ensure that no donor, bank or other actor is punished for humanitarian help to Syrians to avoid over-compliance,” Alena Douhan, a UN special rapporteur for the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures, wrote on Twitter.
Douhan and several other UN experts released a joint statement that also called for the lifting of all sanctions. They said they welcome the exemption but that it might not be enough to offset the harm sanctions cause in Syria.
“We wish to recall that such systems of humanitarian carve-outs may not be sufficient to address the long-term negative effects of sanctions, as well as business over-compliance with sanctions and financial de-risking,” the statement said.
The statement said they were concerned relief efforts were facing severe restrictions due to sanctions. “Even during natural disasters, when hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake, it is gravely concerning that humanitarian actors face persisting challenges due to sanctions, including with regard to procurement procedures and bank transfers,” it said.
The experts added that there are reports that Syrians in other countries cannot send money to their families. “It is reported that the Syrian diaspora is unable to provide financial support through remittances or other means of funding,” the statement said.
Even if the exemption successfully allows more relief efforts, US sanctions on Syria are specifically designed to prevent the country’s reconstruction, which will hamper rebuilding after the earthquake. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in 2021 that it is US policy to “oppose the reconstruction of Syria.”
The earthquake caused damage and killed people in both government-controlled territories in Syria and areas in the northwestern province of Idlib that are mostly controlled by the al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). Syrian media reported on February 10 that Damascus approved aid deliveries into opposition-controlled areas, which will be overseen by the SARC and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
But a UN spokesperson on Sunday told Reuters that earthquake aid into Idlib from government-controlled areas aid was being held up by HTS. The spokesperson said there were “approvement issues” with HTS. A source for the al-Qaeda-linked group told Reuters that they didn’t want to accept the aid out of concerns it would make the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad look good. “We won’t allow the regime to take advantage of the situation to show they are helping,” the source said.
23 thoughts on “US Eases Some Sanctions on Syria for 180 Days After Earthquake”
Thank you, but UN experts say more needs to be done. Please lift all sanctions.
“We won’t allow the regime to take advantage of the situation to show they are helping,” the source said.
If you didn’t read the article, who would you think had said this?
C. al Qaeda
D. All are correct.
Hello Joe. Heeelllooo. We are not at war with Syria. Dumb *ss.
The Russian MOD is fighting a very successful war of attrition disarming NATO (Ukraine was disarmed in March), tank by tank, artillery by artillery, air defense by air defense.
NATO overall has accumulated the following equipment losses;
384 Aircraft, 207 helicopters, 3105 UAV’s, 404 Anti Aircraft systems, 7840 tanks inc. APC’s, 1015 multiple rocket launchers, 4073 rocket launchers and 8350 military automotive equipment.
What the empire looses in the Ukraine, they loose for the final Russian attack on NATO. Remember Russia attacked Ukraine just as NATO was about to unleash in the Donbass. Russia has shown they will pre-emptively attack to defend the Motherland when the time is dictated by events on the ground.
“US Eases Some Sanctions on Syria for 180 Days After Earthquake”
Democrats send mission to Vatican urging saint status for Biden
Wow! 180 days. How generous. Thank you master.
A, aren’t we the most f*cking altruistic nation on the planet?
More like the most autistic nation.
Guess they realized that most of the victims were in ISIS contolled territories.
In Starbucks today saw this poster re sending $$ to Red Cross/Starbucks Foundation for earthquake relief in Turkey. Earthquake magically stopped at border with Syria? All those Syrians who died/suffering are of no account? This is truly disgusting.
Did you donate to breast cancer research but not diabetes research last year? Truly disgusting.
Oh stop it. Really.
Whatever you donate to Red Cross, at least half of it goes to the pockets of its executives…! Now, its alliance with Starbucks is the icing on the cake…!
It is because that the antiwar media that reported on these sanctions and asked for it to be lifted that the Empire even made this 180 days concession to save face. It is not much, but it will be of tremendous help to the poor Syrian people. This gives me hope that we can make a difference; don’t underestimate the power of calling out Empire!
To state the obvious, the us govt has lost all vestiges of humanity but also morality, ethics, truthfullness. As they say, what a country, this time in a very negative sense.
Brian Berletic (New Atlas) begins yesterday’s video with some comments about the US and Syria and includes clips from a presentation by senior Defense Department (deputy assistant secretary, which doesn’t sound as senior as it is) and Blob lifer Dana Stroul. Ms. Stroul was talking to CSIS. It was Trump Time but, as I said, she’s a lifer and there’s really no question that her views are representative of the US government’s over quite a long time now.
My response to Dana Stroul: ESAD.
“US sanctions on Syria are specifically designed to prevent the country’s reconstruction”
I saw a distraught Syrian gentleman on the news who was searching for family members. “All the aid is going to Türkiye” he kept reiterating.
To paraphrase the UN statement, the US 180 day sanctions suspension announcement is nothing more than PR.
When Trump debated hilarity,he stated that he wished to meet with Putin,and perhaps end the Syria war.The MSM raved that he was “soft on Russia”.Perhaps he was not so evil as portrayed.
Thank God for all of our “enemies” who are actually pitching in to help.
To impose sanctions on Syria after the war and after the earthquacke is criminal. But so is to withold Afghanistan’s money while they are starving to death
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