The EU Council announces its decision to extend its exemption of humanitarian work from sanctions imposed on Syria until February 24, 2024.
The Council of the European Union has decided to extend the humanitarian exemption from sanctions against Syria for six months until February 24, 2024.
The exemption was first implemented after a devastating earthquake hit parts of Syria and Turkey in February this year.
“To continue responding in a timely manner to the urgency of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, and to keep facilitating the rapid delivery of aid, the Council has decided to extend the duration of this humanitarian exemption for a further six months until 24 February 2024,” the council’s statement read.
Furthermore, the council announced that specific individuals and entities involved in humanitarian work in Syria would continue to be granted access to their frozen assets.
Western sanctions hindered the delivery of aid to the country at a crucial period of time. The first few days revealed a clear contrast in the actions of organizations and states in Turkey and Syria. Organizations were quick to support the earthquake-stricken Turkish territories. However, a delay was observed when it came to supporting Damascus.
This was largely due to the policy of alienation practiced by Western governments and organizations against Damascus. As Syria was pushed out of global financial institutions and those who chose to deal with it were also punished, it became clear that entities were reluctant to send rescue missions or aid to the devastated country.
Not to mention the various ailments that struck the core of the Syrian infrastructure, healthcare, and emergency services due to energy and material shortages which are the direct result of unilateral sanctions imposed on the country.
Under mounting pressure, the US and the EU were forced to make certain exemptions from sanctions related directly to humanitarian work in the country.
However, this failed to address the larger issue of a frail Syrian infrastructure, since major governmental institutions are still targeted by the sanctions, hindering efforts for reconstruction and redevelopment.