US lifts sanctions on foreign investment in northern Syria, not the Assad regime

The US officially lifted sanctions on foreign investment in northern Syria on Thursday, but US officials said there were no plans to remove sanctions on the Assad regime’s government.

The Treasury Department issued an authorization on its website, which now allows “activity” in 12 different economic sectors in parts of northeast and northwest Syria without fear of US sanctions.

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Thursday’s announcement came after Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said the move was made in an effort to help the economic situation in areas liberated by US-backed forces from ISIS.

From now on, activities will be allowed in the following areas: agriculture, information and telecommunications, electricity grid infrastructure, construction, finance, clean energy, transport and storage, water and waste management, health services, education, manufacturing and commerce.

But dealings with the Syrian government will still be illegal and subject to US sanctions, the Treasury Department said. “Importation into the United States of oil or oil products of Syrian origin” will still be prohibited.

Washington has issued crushing economic sanctions against the Syrian government as a result of its war crimes and mass atrocities carried out against civilians and protesters since the start of the war in Syria in 2011.

And while several Arab countries have sought to normalize ties with the Assad regime, the US has warned against it and said the sanctions could affect any business with the Syrian government.

Read more: US-backed Kurds clamp down on Syrian army-administered enclaves in northeast

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