US: Sanctions Eased for Syrian Opposition



ARA News

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of State issued a statement revealing the government’s intention to ease economic sanctions on the opposition-controlled areas in Syria.

“Through the Departments of State, Commerce, and Treasury, the Administration is taking several significant steps to ease U.S. economic sanctions, enable additional relief and reconstruction activities in opposition-controlled areas of Syria, and support the Syrian opposition and the people of Syria,” the statement –published on the U.S. Department of State’s official website– read.

The waiver authorizes the export and re-export, subject to case-by-case review, of certain U.S.-origin items to liberated areas of Syria for the benefit of the Syrian people. The waiver will authorize the Department of Commerce to process license applications for export and re-exports of commodities, software, and technology, including but not limited to those related to water supply and sanitation; agricultural production and food processing; power generation; oil and gas production; construction and engineering; transportation; and educational infrastructure,” the U.S. department of state stated, adding: “These items are intended to help address the critical needs of the Syrian people and facilitate reconstruction in liberated areas. Of note, the export of food and medicine does not currently require a license and medical devices are covered under an existing waiver.

The U.S. government’s plan to ease sanctions include the initial of exporting American goods and services to benefit the Syrian people, basically in areas free of the control of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Beside setting a policy on economic activities that is intended to benefit the Syrian people, the American administration also adopted an initiative to protect the historical sites and cultural heritage in Syria –that was reportedly damaged over the two-year-old war in Syria.

“Our priority in Syria is to help the people, ensuring that food and medical supplies can reach Syrians afflicted by the ongoing conflict. We also recognize that rebuilding Syria’s future requires helping preserve the country’s cultural heritage and we want to ensure that sanctions do not impede that important effort,” the statement concluded.

Although the steps declared by the U.S. seem to efficiently benefit the Syrian people under the remarkably difficult humanitarian situation, many activists suspect the implementation of the U.S.’s decision, especially that the U.S. didn’t announce a timeline for carrying out the steps mentioned.

Ferhad Ahme, Syrian opposition activist, told ARA News that any step by the international community to support the freed areas in Syria are welcomed by the opposition, “since such steps will help to improve the living conditions of the Syrian people”.

“However, the mechanisms of cooperation should be determined in order to carry out such plans efficiently,” Ahme said. “The U.S.’s decision needs an immediate implementation; otherwise, it won’t be taken seriously by the Syrian opposition.”

According to Ahme, easing a part of the sanctions on the opposition-controlled areas will not help to reach a solution for the Syrian crisis and cannot lead to a democratic transition in the country.

“Therefore, the international community and power-centers are supposed to take decisions backed by explicit mechanisms to force the Syrian regime to accept a political transition in Syria, and resort to the principle of ‘the protection responsibility’,” Ahme told ARA News on Thursday, adding: “If the regime would refuse, the international support to the Syrian people’s cause shouldn’t remain at the level of merely easing parts of the sanctions, but to seriously and responsibly contribute to rebuild the institutions and the infrastructure needed for the aspired democratic transition in Syria..”


By: Adib Abdulmajid


Source: ARA News


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