US businesses in a number of sectors can now do business in North and East Syria, according to the US government. The US Department of Treasury announced the issuance of a general license, which amounts to lifting sanctions for a wide variety of business sectors and commercial purposes for northeast and northwest Syria. The announcement came on May 12, 2022.
The general license, General License No. 22 (31 CFR part 542), allows US businesses to invest in agriculture, clean energy, power grid infrastructure, information and telecommunications, transportation and warehousing, construction, finance, water and waste management, manufacturing, trade, health, and education. The license explicitly grants US companies permission to conduct transactions in these districts of of Syria “that are ordinarily incident and necessary to activities” in these economic sectors. Certain activities, such as those involving refined petroleum products, are not included in the general license.
The regions that are now exempt from the sanctions include the areas currently controlled by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, whose armed forces, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), are key US allies in counterterrorism and stabilization for the region. A full list of districts for which the general license applies is included in the annex to the general license.