Exceptions to the Caesar Act sanctions, which were recently granted by President Joe Biden’s administration to opposition-controlled areas and the SDF, have faced numerous criticisms. Some Syrian critics said that the U.S. decision has enshrined “coercion” in a predominantly Arab region, amid fears that the move could divide Syria.
The U.S. State Department’s regional spokesman, Samuel Werberg, said in an exclusive statement to Syria TV that the 22nd general license in Syria “does not promote or support autonomy in any part of Syria.”
Werberg stressed Washington’s commitment to Syria’s territorial integrity, as outlined in Security Council Resolution 2254.
The general license aims to “improve economic conditions in areas out of the Syrian regime’s control in northeastern and northwestern Syria by encouraging private sector investment. The license aims to prevent the resurgence of ISIS by alleviating growing economic insecurity and restoring basic services in areas liberated from the terrorist group,” Werberg said.
“This license is purely economic and not political. It is intended to support stabilization efforts, including the restoration of basic services and enhancement of livelihood opportunities to help Syrians return to normal life. It provides support to individuals returning from displacement as well as the communities that they return to.”
Part of the strategy to eliminate ISIS
The sanctions exception forms part of “critical components of our strategy to fight ISIS,” the spokesman said. “We have noticed interest from private companies, including those operating in neighbouring countries, to operate in some areas of northern Syria. Private sector investment in these areas will help reduce the likelihood of ISIS re-emerging by combating the desperate conditions that enable the terrorist group’s recruitment and support networks.”
“The United States is aware that millions of Syrians across the country are in dire need of assistance, especially in light of increased food insecurity, rising prices, and difficult daily living conditions,” Werberg said, adding: “That’s why we are now working with our partners at the United Nations to ensure that the Bab al-Hawa crossing is reauthorized this year, which will expand cross-border humanitarian access to all Syrians.”
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.