Sanctions on Syria

Peter Ford

The Lancet | September 29, 2020

The Comment by Hamid Yahiya Hussain and Kasturi Sen (September, 2020)

rightly drew attention to the damage being inflicted on Syria by EU and US sanctions. However, by concentrating on the impact of sanctions on humanitarian interventions, their Comment did not illustrate the full extent of that damage.

A decade of war and sanctions has already left the Syrian economy weakened, and restrictions on economic activity aimed at reducing the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are increasing hardship in the country, particularly for those most vulnerable. In particular, the price of food has increased substantially. A basic food basket costs more than double what it did a year ago.

8% of Syrians were unemployed in 2019. That the EU should at this juncture discreetly renew sanctions and the USA brazenly introduce new drastic sanctions under the Caesar Act show a callousness similar to that seen in the sanctions on Iraq in the run-up to the Iraq war.

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