President Trump is set to announce new sanctions against Syria, as part of a renewed attempt by the US to overthrow Assad. He will be handing the reigns over to Biden—the guy who championed arming “moderate rebels” in a disastrous program that helped extremist groups thrive…
Months after announcing new sanctions against officials in Syria, the Trump Administration could be posed to take more action against the Syrian government in the coming weeks. But officials from both Syria and Russia are openly warning that if the US adds more sanctions to the list, it will continue to have a devastating impact on the Syrian people.
The State Department is now warning about new sanctions against Syria, and the US Special Envoy for Syria testified before Congress that there are new measures planned before Biden takes office. “Your question of ‘Will there be additional designations under the Caesar Act between now and January 20… I can’t specify specifically what sanctions we’ll do in the coming weeks, but we are intending to do some,” Joel Rayburn told the House Foreign Affairs committee.
These sanctions are all part of the “Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act,” which President Trump signed into law last year, and it’s aimed at pushing the US to sanctions anyone who supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The law went into effect back in June, and we saw another round of sanctions in September. It is notable that it’s called the “Civilian Protection Act,” and it specifically says the sanctions “are not intended to harm the Syrian people,” but Russia’s Foreign Minister has argued that’s exactly what the US is doing.
“Solving problems about the country’s socio-economic development, solving issues met by the Syrian people, in the COVID-19 situation, are hindered by criminal unilateral sanctions, which have been imposed on Syria by United States and some of their allies,” Sergey Lavrov said.
Both Russia and Syria have openly argued that these sanctions are illegal under international law, and that the US is only adding to the “destruction of Syria.” In a statement, Faisal Mekdad said, “When we see that the United States steals our oil, occupies our territory, supports some non-national movements, when they illegally enter on our territory, disrespecting our sovereignty—all this contradicts the United Nations organization’s resolutions; and this doesn’t aim to the restoration of Syria, on the contrary, this aims to the destruction of Syria.”
The United Nations has yet to acknowledge those concerns, and it has been quick to blame the ongoing humanitarian crisis on the Syrian Government.
The legislation that Trump signed into laws states that the end goal in Syria is to overthrow President Assad. That’s something the Obama Administration tried to accomplish—which, of course, Biden was a part of. There is a lot of speculation on what Biden’s policy in Syria will look like. He was one of the top supporters of the plan to arm and train so-called “moderate rebels,” which was a disaster. There are a lot of concerns that his own administration could try similar measures to try to get Assad out of power—and face a clash with Russia in the process.