Syria: Damascus residents share thoughts on new US sanctions

Damascus residents shared their thoughts as the US imposed new sanctions on Syria under the Caesar Act, which entered into force on Wednesday. One local questioned whether the act helps the Syrian people, saying “they claim that this act is in favour of the Syrian people, but I wonder: how does this act benefit us? The poor are getting poorer while the rich are getting richer. Everything that hurts people is just increasing.” Another one spoke of the deteriorating living conditions, explaining that «The prices of all commodities have increased. The United States is sanctioning us in all fields, and the Syrian people are the only ones affected, no one takes this into account.» “It [the USA] is showing no mercy on the Syrian people by imposing various and successive sanctions,» they added. Another local downplayed the potential impact of the new measures, stating “We are used to being sanctioned a long time ago, so I don’t think that something will change in my life.» The new sanction act, ratified last December by the US, aims at increasing the pressure on the Syrian government to halt alleged attacks on civilians. The act sanctions all Syrians and non-Syrians who provide support to, or deal with, the Syrian government or any of the entities it owns or controls. The sanctions focus on three major sectors: the military, oil and gas, as well as reconstruction in Syrian government-controlled areas. It also opens the door to sanctions on the Central Bank of Syria if the US Treasury finds it plays a role in money laundering. In addition, the Caesar Act includes a long list of people whom the US alleges are involved in human rights violations, including the Syrian president, his wife, and members of his cabinet, as well as other officials in the Syrian government. ​
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