EU sanctions, imposed since 9 May 2011, respond to the repression perpetrated on the Syrian people by the Syrian regime and its supporters, including through the use of live ammunition against peaceful protesters, and the regime’s involvement in the proliferation and use of chemical weapons.
As the situation in Syria deteriorated, and in line with the European Council conclusions of 23 October 2011, EU sanctions focused on sending a message to powerful political and economic actors that their support to the regime would come at a cost.
EU sanctions are designed in a way that only targets the specific individuals and entities on the sanctions list, avoiding negative impacts on the population, and they comply with all obligations under international law, in particular international refugee law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law. EU sanctions do not impede the provision of humanitarian assistance to the Syrian population.
The goal of these measures is to put pressure on the Syrian regime to halt its repression and negotiate a lasting political settlement of the Syrian crisis in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 under UN auspices. They are part and parcel of the EU’s wider approach to the Syria crisis.
The EU imposes different types of targeted measures:
Individual restrictive measures
273 individuals and 70 entities are subject to an asset freeze and a travel ban because of their role in the repression of the civilian population. These sanctions also target actors supporting the Syrian regime, including prominent businesspersons and companies making large profits from the war economy and helping to finance that regime in return.
Such individuals, organisations or companies have become directly or indirectly complicit in the repression because the regime has made it very clear that it will continue carrying out its brutal crackdowns, including through the use of chemical weapons as reported by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The EU restrictive measures are designed to have maximum impact on the regime, while minimising any potential negative impacts on the people of Syria. Economic measures concern very specific sectors and include:
These activities have been used to either finance or carry out the repression of the Syrian people.
EU humanitarian response to the crisis in Syria
The provision of medicines, medical equipment or medical assistance provided to the population at large is not subject to EU sanctions. Humanitarian operators can also benefit from exceptions for activities needed to provide humanitarian assistance that allow, for example, buying fuel to transport medical devices, exchanging currency or building makeshift hospitals.