According to sources familiar with the situation in north and northeast Syria, the Autonomous Administration’s plan to exclude those areas — which are controlled by the pro-Washington separatist Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Turkish-funded militias — from U.S. sanctions under the so-called Caesar Act against private companies and investors, is an attempt to evade a sustainable solution to the Syrian crisis, that would guarantee the unity of Syrian territory.
The sources pointed to operational and logistical constraints that will hinder the degree to which the Autonomous Administration benefits from the Biden administration’s plan. This includes the borders of shut-off areas of dominance with neighboring countries, except the narrow Semalka crossing with the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The proposal could incite secession, given that the area has no currency of its own, nor has it adopted foreign currencies like the U.S. dollar or the Euro. In addition, the plan would anger the Turkish regime by encouraging steps that incite secession, which has repercussions for Turkey domestically.
The sources expressed their conviction that the U.S. Treasury Department’s plan to exclude SDF-controlled areas from the Caesar Act — which is expected to be announced within days, after the adoption of the exception’s final version — is harmful to the Syrian political process. The exception will not be very useful economically or for improving living conditions, because it will not include oil and gas, which will remain subject to sanctions and form the mainstay of the militias’ revenues. Accordingly, the decision will create an opportunity to increase the quantities of oil that is stolen and smuggled into Iraq via the U.S. occupation forces and to areas dominated by Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, in Idleb.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.