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Syria: Development Aid and Sanctions

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 58739, tabled on 19 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for his policies of the impact of (a) sanctions and (b) reduction in official overseas development aid for civilians living in Syria.

Answered on

22 October 2021

UK Syria sanctions carefully target the Assad regime and its cronies, not the civilian population. Sanctions are imposed for specific purposes. They play an indispensable role in countering breaches of international law, proliferation, staunching the flow of arms into war zones, combatting human rights abuses, and targeting spoilers of peace processes. The UK does not sanction medicine, medical equipment or medical assistance, and items required to fight the COVID-19 pandemic are not subject to direct restrictions on export, supply, financing or use in Syria. To further guard against unintentional humanitarian impact, UK sanctions provide for a range of exceptions, in order not to obstruct humanitarian activity, or export of medicines or other humanitarian goods.

As the third largest bilateral donor to the Syria Crisis, the UK is at the forefront of the international response, helping those most in need and encouraging the wider international humanitarian response to do the same. To date, the UK has committed over £3.7 billion in response to the regional Syria Crisis, our largest humanitarian response. In financial year 2020/21, UK Aid helped deliver 11,077 food rations, 552,496 people with clean drinking water, 202,004 vaccines, 133,367 relief packages, 1,350,048 medical consultations and 244,739 pupils with access to formal education, inside Syria. The UK remains a force for good at times of crisis, and we will continue to support the Syrian people.

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