EU extends sanctions on Syrian regime and earthquake exemptions

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a speech before the European Parliament in France - September 2022 (Reuters)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a speech before the European Parliament in France - September 2022 (Reuters)


The European Union extended its sanctions on the Syrian regime today, Tuesday, May 28, until June 1, 2025.

According to a statement published by the EU on its official website, the European Council extended the restrictive measures imposed by the EU against the Syrian regime due to the severity of the deteriorating situation in Syria, while removing five deceased individuals and one other person from the list.

The currently applied restrictive measures target 316 individuals and 86 entities. Those listed are subjected to asset freezes, and EU citizens and companies are prohibited from providing them with funds. Additionally, natural persons on the list are subjected to travel bans and are prevented from entering or transiting through EU territories.

At the same time, the council decided to extend the humanitarian exemption introduced in February 2023 due to the severity of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, which was exacerbated by the earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey on February 6.

This decision includes the continued provision of humanitarian aid and other activities that support basic humanitarian needs promptly, as well as increasing consistency with EU restrictive measures and those adopted at the United Nations level.

The council expressed deep concern over the situation in Syria, noting that the Syrian regime continues its policy of repression and human rights violations, making it necessary to maintain the existing restrictive measures.

The statement confirmed that the European Council keeps the developments of the Syrian conflict under continuous review and may decide to renew sanctions and amend the list of targeted entities or individuals based on developments on the ground, emphasizing that the only way to achieve sustainable peace in Syria is through a political solution in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

EU sanctions on the Syrian regime were first imposed in 2011 in response to the violent crackdown on civilians by the regime.

The EU sanctions on Syria target the Syrian regime and its supporters, as well as sectors of the economy benefiting the regime. They are not intended to hinder the delivery of humanitarian aid to any part of the country, nor do they prohibit the entry of food, medicines, or medical equipment by the EU into Syria. The sanctions do not target the healthcare system and include exceptions for providing humanitarian aid to any part of the country, which was reinforced after the February 6 earthquake to quickly deliver humanitarian aid to the Syrian population, according to the statement.

Since 2011, the EU has imposed sanctions on Syria, initially targeting 291 individuals with asset freezes and travel bans, as well as 70 entities with frozen financial assets, in response to the regime’s crackdown on the popular uprising demanding political transition in Syria.

In a separate context, the EU announced last January the extension of the exemption from asset freezes and restrictions on making funds and economic resources available to certain natural or legal persons and entities for the benefit of international organizations and specific categories of actors engaged in humanitarian activities, until June 1 next year.



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