European Union External Action

EU response to the Syrian crisis

Bruxelles, 08/03/2019 - 14:42, UNIQUE ID: 170314_11

The war in Syria, one of the worst humanitarian crises the world has faced since World War II, continues to have devastating and tragic consequences for its people. It is also having an increasingly destabilising impact on the wider region, through the displacement of people, the exacerbation of political and sectarian differences and the spread of terrorism.

Only a negotiated political solution, as defined in the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué, will ensure lasting stability in Syria, and the elimination of Da'esh and other UN-listed terrorist entities in the country.
Since the beginning of the crisis, the EU has mobilised all political and humanitarian tools at its disposal in support of the Syrian people, remaining one of the main supporters of the UN-led efforts to reach a political solution and the main humanitarian donor for Syrians, with over €16.9 billion mobilised collectively with EU Member States in humanitarian, development, economic and stabilisation assistance.

To read more download the factsheet on EU response to the Syrian crisis






The EU restrictive measures on Syria consist of:

  • Prohibition on the import of arms and related material from Syria. Export restrictions on certain equipment, goods and technology that might be used for internal repression or for the manufacture or maintenance of such products. The measure includes a prohibition on related financial assistance as well as insurance and reinsurance.
  • Obligation for member states to inspect vessels and aircraft if there are reasonable grounds to believe they carry arms, related material or equipment which might be used for internal repression. This applies in member states' seaports, airports and in their territorial sea, in accordance with international law. Items that may not be exported from the EU to Syria must be seized.
  • Import ban on crude oil and petroleum products from Syria. The prohibition concerns import, purchase and transport of such products as well as related finance and insurance. The ban also includes a prohibition on related technical and financial assistance. Under certain conditions, member states may authorise derogations from this prohibition.
  • Ban on investment in the Syrian oil industry. This covers loans and credits, acquisition or extension of participations and the creation of joint ventures. Under certain conditions, member states may authorise derogations from this prohibition.
  • Ban on investment in companies engaged in the construction of new power plants for electricity production in Syria.
  • Prohibition to participate in the construction of new power plants, including related technical or financial assistance.
  • Ban on exports to Syria of key equipment and technology for the oil and gas industry. The ban also includes a prohibition on related technical and financial assistance. Under certain conditions, member states may authorise derogations from this prohibition.
  • Ban on trade in goods belonging to Syria's cultural heritage which have been illegally removed from Syria with the objective of facilitating the safe return of those goods.
  • The assets of the Syrian central bank within the EU are frozen and it is prohibited to make funds or economic resources available, but the provision allows for legitimate trade to continue under strict conditions.
  • Ban on trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with Syrian public bodies and the central bank.
  • Ban on supplying banknotes and coinage to the Syrian central bank.
  • Member states must not give new grants and concessional loans to the Syrian government.
  • The freezing of the assets of and a travel ban on 259 individuals and 67 entities responsible for or associated with the violent repression against Syria's civilian population, supporting or benefiting from the regime, or meeting certain status-based criteria. Funds or economic resources otherwise frozen may be released in whole or in part, under certain conditions, if intended, inter alia, for humanitarian purposes; for evacuations from Syria; or in order to make payments on behalf of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), for activities related to the OPCW verification mission and the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons.
  • Export ban on equipment, technology or software primarily intended for monitoring or interception of the internet or telephone communications.
  • No disbursements and payments in connection with existing loan agreements between Syria and the European Investment Bank, as well as the suspension of technical assistance contracts relating to projects in Syria.
  • Prohibition to trade Syrian public or public-guaranteed bonds to or from the government of Syria or its public bodies and Syrian financial institutions. No brokering or issuing services for such bonds are allowed.
  • Prohibition for Syrian financial institutions to open new branches or subsidiaries in the EU or to establish new joint ventures or new correspondent banking relationships with EU banks.
  • EU banks are prohibited from opening offices or accounts in Syria. Under certain conditions, member states may authorise derogations from this prohibition.
  • Member states are to restrain short and medium term financial support for trade with Syria, including export credits, guarantees and insurance. No more long-term support.
  • No insurance or re-insurance to the Syrian government, public bodies, corporations or agencies (except health and travel insurance or compulsory third party insurance for Syrian persons or entities in the EU).
  • Cargo flights operated by Syrian carriers and all flights operated by Syrian Arab Airlines may not have access to EU airports.
  • Prohibition to export luxury goods to Syria.
  • Prohibition on the export of aviation fuel to Syria.


For more information, see legislation instituting these restrictive measures and Frequently Asked Questions on EU restrictive measures.