US Issues Sanctions Relief for Syria Earthquake Aid

    Photo: Getty Images [via BBC]

    The Facts

    • On Thursday, the US Dept. of the Treasury authorized financial transactions to Syria for 180 days following the devastating earthquake that rocked southern Turkey and northern Syria on Monday. "Syria General License 23" authorizes transactions that would otherwise be prohibited by the Syrian Sanctions Regulations.

    • Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said, "US sanctions in Syria will not stand in the way of life-saving efforts for the Syrian people." However, he also stated that there had already been "robust exemptions for humanitarian efforts."

    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Though the US has lifted some sanctions, this is largely a superficial move to avoid criticism of its brutal sanctions regime. If sanctions weren't obstructing aid delivery, why did the US lift some of them? All routes from Turkey into the country's north have been destroyed, making it even more necessary for Western governments to work directly with the Syrian state to help alleviate this crisis. The West must lift all of these cruel sanctions.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    The US should not and will not work with a government that has killed hundreds of thousands of its own people with barrel bombs, starvation sieges, and chemical weapons. US sanctions on Syria have a very minor effect on aid delivery, as such areas are excluded from the sanctions which largely target individuals and companies, and any possible hindrances have now been lifted. The US will do everything it can via the NGOs with which it has worked for years to provide Syrians with aid, but it will not assist Bashar al-Assad, Syria's dictator after he destroyed his own country.

    Establishment split



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