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US sanctions against Syria under Caesar Act take effect today


US sanctions against Syria under Caesar Act take effect today

Syria Reuters
Photo: Reuters

US sanctions against Syria under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act will come into effect today.

Intended to compel human rights reforms in the country, the Caesar Act sanctions the Assad regime, particularly targeting the oil, construction, engineering and military aircraft sectors. The sanctions will prevent anyone, including foreign actors, from doing business with Syrian officials or state institutions or participate in any reconstruction efforts in the war-ravaged country.

The measure comes amid a deepening economic crisis in both Syria and neighbouring Lebanon, affecting crucial economic relations between the two nations. Moreover, the crisis has triggered anti-Assad protests calling for the president’s resignation in parts of the country previously considered loyal to the regime.

Indeed, the sanctions are likely to intensify the country’s ongoing macroeconomic free fall—the Syrian pound has already lost more than half its value since May. The sanctions could also undermine small Syrian businesses, which will likely find it harder to survive in an increasingly isolated economy. Specifically, civilians in regime-held areas fear that only they will be affected by the new restrictions. Meanwhile, Russia is seeking to strengthen its foothold in the region by reopening the M4 international highway before the Act comes into force, in the hope of working with the Syrian regime to circumvent the sanctions in parts of the country connected by the M4.

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