After Earthquake Devastates Syria, US Shows No Interest in Lifting Sanctions – AntiWar 2/6/23


After a devastating earthquake hit Syria and Turkey, killing thousands of people, the US State Department showed no interest in lifting crippling economic sanctions on Syria that are specifically designed to prevent the country’s reconstruction.

As of Monday night, the earthquake has killed at least 2,921 people in Turkey and 1,444 in northwest Syria, including in Syrian government-controlled territory and areas controlled by anti-government fighters.

The Syrian Health Ministry said 711 people died in government-controlled territory. In areas of Syria’s northwest Idlib province that are mostly controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an al-Qaeda-linked group, reports said 733 people had died.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday that the US would work with NGOs in the country but wouldn’t engage with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He didn’t give any indication that the US would lift sanctions on Syria.

When asked by if the Biden administration was considering lifting sanctions, the State Department referred to Price’s comments about working with NGOs. “In Turkey, we have a partner in the government; in Syria, we have a partner in the form of NGOs on the ground who are providing humanitarian support,” Price said.

When pressed on why the US wouldn’t engage with Damascus, Price said it “would be quite ironic, if not even counterproductive, for us to reach out to a government that has brutalized its people over the course of a dozen years now.”

Price claimed that no other country has done more than the US to provide aid to the Syrian people. But US sanctions on Syria have a devastating impact on the civilian population, as a UN special rapporteur recently detailed in a report after visiting the country.

Read More…