A new wave of US sanctions will soon hit the Syrian government. The sanctions will impact all Syrian people, upset the existing balance in the region, and cause economic hardship in North and East Syria, warned the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES). As a result of this imbalance and the economic challenges it would pose to the AANES and SDF, the sanctions could lead to a resurgence of ISIS, said AANES.
In a statement released on Thursday, May 21, 2020 (English translation below), the AANES asked the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, as well as other international organizations, to ensure that these new sanctions not impact North and East Syria.
The Caesar Act sanctions “undoubtedly will have an impact on all Syrian regions, including AANES areas, which are part of Syria, since the dealings with the Syrian interior are in place and all sectors are affected in these sanctions,” read the AANES statement. “By imposing sanctions and impacting our regions, the Caesar Act will directly impact anti-terrorism efforts.”
The sanctions will spur a further decline in the value of the Syrian pound against the US dollar, which will impact all Syrian people. A decline has been occurring for the past two months, so a further drop in the exchange rates will lead to additional hardships among the people.
The sanctions will not impact the flow of humanitarian aid, including aid to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, claimed the US Department of Treasury. The Caesar Act, a US law that imposes new sanctions on high-ranking officials in the Syrian Government, will go into effect in June 2020. The Act was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which was approved by US Congress on December 19, 2020.
The sanctions are targeted at the Assad government, government officials, military and civilian leaders, intelligence agencies and the military, and anyone deemed responsible for the government’s human rights violations and atrocities in Syria. The sanctions may also be applied to oil sector contractors, aircraft parts suppliers and manufacturers, and others seeking to do business with the Syrian government. These new sanctions will be added to the long list of sanctions already applied by the US Treasury Department to Syria.
In a statement on April 16, 2020, the US Department of Treasury clarified that neither the new sanctions nor the old ones will impact humanitarian aid. The statement explained, “OFAC remains committed to ensuring that these sanctions do not limit the ability of civilians located in Syria to receive humanitarian support from the international community.” This humanitarian aid includes COVID-19-related aid, as well as all other types of humanitarian aid that is currently making its way into Syria.
STATEMENT BY AANES
Released Thursday, May 21, 2020
The outbreak of the emerging Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created an economic and health crisis in the world. The conflict also deepened between opposing powers, despite the fact that international calls made during this crisis that called for rejection of violence and conflict. We support these calls so far, and we still believe that war and conflict can neither serve the people nor their future.
The ongoing Syrian crisis, after nine years, still lacks the prospect of a solution and political accommodation. This has brought with it serious repercussions. The Syrian regime was primarily responsible for these repercussions, as it maintained the logic of violence and rejected Syrian dialogue and consensus. These repercussions cast a shadow on all aspects, including economic aspects. The sanctions imposed on Syria by the United States are in order to force the regime to submit to pressure, and accept the political process in Syria.
These sanctions imposed on Damascus, and the Caesar Act in particular, undoubtedly will have an impact on all Syrian regions, including AANES areas, which are part of Syria, since the dealings with the Syrian interior are in place and all sectors are affected in these sanctions. This in itself creates negative repercussions for our regions and creates major problems, especially as our regions become an important point for combating terrorism and ISIS. By imposing sanctions and impacting our regions, the Caesar Act will directly impact anti-terrorism efforts.
In the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, we turn to the international community, international institutions, and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, to consider the impact of these sanctions on of anti-terrorist measures. Because with the presence of sanctions, there will be serious and real opportunities for ISIS to reposition, and its threat will return to all of Syria, the region, and the world. Therefore, there must be measures to prevent our areas from being impacted to prevent a distraction from efforts to combat ISIS.
In addition, as an autonomous administration, we will do our part to mitigate the impact of these sanctions and the repercussions of the Caesar Act on our region, and try to ward off its risks and negative consequences. There will also be a review of the conditions across our institutions to prevent the exploitation of this crisis by anyone and prevent the development of monopoly cases against our people, especially with regard to the main articles. And the administration will not tolerate the practice of the harshest sanctions against anyone, as it seeks to deepen the economic crisis. We also turn to our people for the need to cooperate with self-management and to be aware of the impact on Syria and our regions, as these effects are outside the circle of control. And self-development and support must be present so that our people benefit from the composition and richness of our agricultural areas through economic self-support and development projects that meet the necessary and basic needs that can be met through self-support. We also count on the awareness and ability of our people to prevent some people from exploiting this crisis through the propaganda of personalities and institutions.