BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:40 A.M.) – On Wednesday, the United States imposed its harshest sanctions against Syria aimed at withholding revenues from the country’s authorities led by President Bashar al-Assad, to prevent him from achieving a “military victory” in the war that has continued since 2011.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Kraft, told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that the United States will implement the so-called “Caesar Act to protect civilians in Syria”, which U.S. President Donald Trump signed on December 20, 2019, and aims to deter “bad parties that continue to help and finance the atrocities of the Assad regime against the Syrian people while they simply achieve wealth for themselves,” according to the text of the legislation.
Kraft said the U.S. government will impose its new sanctions on Syria “in order to prevent the Assad regime from achieving a military victory.”
“Our goal is to deprive the Assad regime of the revenue and support it used to commit widespread atrocities and human rights violations that prevent a political solution and seriously reduce the prospects for peace,” Kraft added.
Russia, China and Syria have strongly criticized the U.S. plan to impose more sanctions unilaterally, especially at a time when the Arab country is going through a severe economic crisis.
Russia’s delegate to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, said that the United States reaffirmed that “the purpose of these measures is to overthrow the legitimate authorities in Syria,” stressing that the new sanctions “will strike ordinary civilians.”
In turn, China’s delegate to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, said that the U.S. is taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to further harm Syria for the purpose of regime change.
In a speech before a separate meeting of the Geneva-based International Human Rights Council, the Syrian delegate, Bashar Jaafari, accused the United States of trying to impose American law on the world and belittling calls to end unilateral sanctions.
For his part, the U.N. Special Envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, told the Security Council that he hoped to bring together the parties to the Syrian crisis in Geneva to conduct negotiations on the constitution in late August.
The new sanctions imposed by the United States target the most important sectors of the Syrian economy, the central bank, and the authorities, including Assad in person, as well as any internal or external party that cooperates with the government of Syria and “supports its military operations.”