Lifting of Sanctions to Allow Aid into Syria

February 6, 2023 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) calls for the immediate lifting of sanctions on Syria to allow for more humanitarian aid and disaster relief following the horrific 7.8 magnitude earthquake that has left tens of thousands injured or dead. Current U.S. sanctions severely restrict aid assistance to millions of Syrians. Existing sanctions impose obstacles that make it difficult for aid and disaster relief to reach many of those directly impacted.

ADC National Executive Director Abed Ayoub said, “We commend and are thankful to existing organizations on the ground providing immediate humanitarian aid and relief to those in Syria, Turkey, and across the region. The reality is more aid and relief is needed, and time is of the essence. Lifting of the sanctions will open the doors for additional and supplemental aid that will provide immediate relief to those in need.”

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake with an epicenter in southern Turkey early Monday has killed more than 2,300 people across the country and in Syria. The earthquake was felt as far away as Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Egypt. It was followed by at least 54 powerful aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in the same fault zone of south-central Turkey on Monday afternoon local time. Most of the damage is in southern Turkey and northern and central Syria. In Syria many of those displaced by the earthquake were already in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

Currently any U.S.-based aid and relief efforts are required to ensure that they follow the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) guidance, or risk prosecution. This adds unnecessary and inhumane delays to organizations and individuals looking to support those in immediate need. Lifting these sanctions to allow for the unfettered flow of humanitarian aid and disaster relief is the moral and humanitarian thing to do.

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