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225. Why does the United States have sanctions against Syria and what does that mean for me?


The United States has sanctioned the Syrian government, including the Central Bank of Syria, senior Syrian government officials, and individuals and entities supporting the Assad regime and/or responsible for human rights abuses in Syria, in order to reinforce the President’s call that Bashar al-Assad step down and to disrupt the Assad regime’s ability to finance its campaign of violence against the Syrian people. In addition, Treasury has sanctioned the Commercial Bank of Syria and a number of other entities under Executive Order 13382, an authority that targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their supporters. Over the years Treasury has applied a broad range of sanctions using several different authorities and Executive orders (E.O.s), including counter-terrorism (E.O. 13224), human rights abuses (E.O. 13572), and non-proliferation (E.O. 13382). The United States has also prohibited the exportation of services to Syria, and there have long been legal restrictions on what goods U.S. persons can export to Syria.

These sanctions mean that U.S. persons are not permitted to do business with individuals or entities on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), or with any entity 50 percent or more owned by an Specially Designated National (SDN), unless exempt or authorized by OFAC through a general or specific license.