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Syria: Sanctions

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN HL14567, tabled on 24 March 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 12 March (HL13797), whether the principle of ‘do no harm’ also applies to economic sanctions on Syria; and what assessment they have made of the statement by the UN Office of the High Commissioner on 7 August 2020 that sanctions “are bringing suffering and death" in countries like Syria.

Answered on

9 April 2021

The UK remains committed to supporting a political settlement to the conflict in Syria in line with UNSCR 2254. Sanctions remain a key lever to press the regime to engage seriously with the political process. We remain committed to the principle of 'do no harm' with sanctions in Syria and seek to minimise the impact of sanctions on ordinary Syrians. We carefully target specific individuals and entities who are part of a new wave of emerging elites that have profited from the conflict. We do not sanction medicine, medical equipment and medical assistance. Items required to fight the COVID-19 pandemic are not subject to direct restrictions on export, supply, financing or use in Syria.

The Assad regime and its backers blame 'Western' sanctions for the failing economy in Syria. In reality, the regime has devastated its own economy through cronyism, corruption and brutality and must be held to account.

The UK remains at the forefront of the humanitarian response to the crisis in Syria and the region, and will continue to be so. We have now committed £3.7 billion to the Syria Crisis since 2012, our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis