Syria: EU sanctions drug trade benefitting the regime
The Council today decided to list 25 individuals and 8 entities in the framework of EU restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria.
The majority of today’s designations target individuals and entities responsible for the production and trafficking of narcotics, notably Captagon. The trade in amphetamine has become a regime-led business model, enriching the inner circle of the regime and providing it with revenue that contributes to its ability to maintain its policies of repression against the civilian population. For this reason the Council designated various members of the Assad family – including multiple cousins of Bashar al-Assad, leaders and members of regime-affiliated militias and businesspeople with close ties to the Assad family, as well as persons associated with the Syrian army and the Syrian military intelligence.
The remaining designations concern private security companies operating in Syria, such as Al-Jabal Security and Protection, Castle for Security and Protection and Aman for Protection and Security, and individuals and entities linked to them. These companies also act as shell companies for regime-affiliated militia and support them though activities such as the recruitment of members.
The Council has assessed that regime-affiliated militias support the Syrian regime in its repressive policies, commit abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law on behalf of the Syrian regime, and that their members present a serious risk of further committing such violations. Lastly, the Council listed the Russian engineering and construction company Stroytransgazand Gecopham, an entity controlled by the Syrian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, for providing support to the regime.
With today’s decision, the list of people and entities subject to sanctions in view of the situation in Syria now includes 322 persons, targeted by both an assets freeze and a travel ban, and 81 entities subject to an assets freeze. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to both listed individuals and entities.
Sanctions on Syria were first introduced in 2011 in response to the violent repression of the civilian population by the Assad regime. EU sanctions in place regarding Syria target the Assad regime and its supporters, as well as sectors of the economy from which the regime was making profit.
EU sanctions in place regarding Syria are not meant to impede the provision humanitarian assistance to any part of the country. EU Sanctions do not prohibit the export of food, medicines or medical equipment by the EU to Syria, and they do not target Syria’s healthcare system. The sanctions regime includes a wide range of humanitarian exceptions to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to any part of the country. Following the tragic earthquake of 6 February 2023, the already existing humanitarian exceptions were further strengthened to further facilitate the speedy delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Syrian population.
The Council remains deeply concerned about the situation in Syria. After more than a decade, the conflict is far from over and remains a source of suffering and instability. However, the Council also notes that the Syrian regime continues to pursue its policy of repression. It is therefore necessary to maintain and ensure the effectiveness of the restrictive measures in place by further developing them.
The EU remains committed to finding a lasting and credible political solution to the conflict in Syria on the basis of the UN Security Council resolution 2254 and of the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.Council of the European Union Press Release
Official Journal of the European Union
Categories: Council of Europe EU Updates Narcotics Trafficking Sanctions Lists Syrian Sanctions
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