‘New US sanctions aim to make Syrian govt accept conditions’

The new set of US sanctions is aiming to change the behaviour of the Syrian government, not the downfall of the administration of President Bashar al-Assad, an expert said.

On Wednesday, the US announced massive sanctions against Syria, in an effort to further deprive the revenue of the Assad government, reports Xinhua news agency.

The latest sanctions involve 39 individuals and entities including Assad and his wife, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in a statement.

Maher Ihsan, a political expert, told Xinhua news agency on Thursday that the sanctions aim to twist the arm of the Syrian government into accepting the conditions of the US administration.

“They are trying to economically squeeze the government to achieve what they couldn’t do through war,” he said.

The new US measures come with an “option key” that is left for the Syrian government in case it wants the sanctions removed.

Section 401 of the Caesar Bill outlines six requirements to lift US sanctions on Syria such as ending the alleged aircraft bombing of civilians.

It also says that Iranian, Syrian and Russian forces should no longer restrict humanitarian access to besieged areas, and should allow civilians to leave freely.

The sanctions includes the release of all political prisoners, and giving the appropriate international human rights organizations full access to Syria’s prisons and detention facilities.

It also stipulates a halt of the alleged bombing of “medical facilities, schools, residential areas, and community gathering places, including markets” and urges for achieving the possibility for the “safe, voluntary, and dignified return of Syrians displaced by the conflict”.

The last condition is holding perpetrators of “war crimes” in Syria accountable and bringing justice for victims of war crimes.

However, Syria has denied all the allegations, saying that the US is practicing “economic terrorism”.

“It’s obvious that the U.S. wants the Assad administration to accept a solution based on the US desires, which explains the recent sanctions,” Ihsan said, adding that “it’s no secret that the U.S. main demand is the withdrawal of the Iranian forces and their allies from Syria”.

He added that “those who make offers, don’t intend to bring down the government, but to change its behaviour into something accepted by the US”.

Still, Ihsan said that the Syrian people will be the most affected by the new sanctions as they are already reeling under economic pressure with the soaring prices and the devaluation of the Syrian currency.

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