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Caesar Act: Does it Truly Protect the Syrian civilians?

2020-08-24
By: Anas Ahmad

Many United States officials have, repeatedly and on several occasions, confirmed, that there is no intention to overthrow the president Assad, but rather to change his behavior. As James Jeffrey further explained that the intention is not to change Assad militarily or internationally. The most urgent question is represented in the fact that Americans realize that this type of regime can live with sanctions and can take advantage of the crisis. Is America truly serious about this request?
Assad Regime and similar regimes, deal with their people with the conspiracy mentality and methods of oppression and suppression. Therefore, have not the world considered this lesson through the daunting experiences? The problem with this type of regimes is that oppression is not only a method of managing politics and governance, but rather a culture of milieus that support these regimes and their social base.
The Syrian doctor arrested by the German authorities, is one example, as it is assumed that humanism values in his profession prevail over any political bias. However, he was torturing and killing opponents of the regime and this experience is one of hundreds of pro-regime doctors.
Likewise, currents, parties, and intellectual figures have openly supported the extermination of opponents in Syria and Egypt. They even increased the cruelty of the oppressive regimes, despite their harshness and advocated explosive and chemical barrels and killings in jails. Changing the behavior of such regimes requires changing their management manner of politics and governance. They will have to change their entire administrative, military, security and party staff. In addition to changing their ideology, ways of thinking and their view of the society.
In brief, if these regimes, especially Assad regime, change their current behavior, they will inevitably overthrow. They will be taken to criminal courts to hold them accountable for the terrible atrocities they committed against millions of their people. In addition, officials of totalitarian regimes are separated from reality and hysterically live in a state of denial of reality and its facts.
The aforementioned is not only an assumption based on the knowledge of these regimes and their experiences nature, but also based on clear statements. Walid Al-Muallem, Assad's Foreign Minister, stated on Tuesday 23/06/2020; that the US sanctions on Syria, or the so-called "Caesar Act," which came into force last Week, is "opening the door for the return of Terrorism" and this law must be taken as an opportunity for "self-sufficiency." Is there anyone sane who talk about "achieving self-sufficiency" in conditions like Syria's now! Al-Muallem added, in a press conference, that the "Caesar Act" must be sought to be transformed into an opportunity to "advance the national economy" and "achieve self-sufficiency." As well as, to "deepen cooperation with friends and allies in various fields," stressing that the battle against terrorism "will not stop."
This insane denial is not an individual case rather a collective delirium of Assad’s entourage. For example, Ali AbdulKarim Ali, Assad's Ambassador to Lebanon, indicates that Syria and Lebanon are capable of transforming the so-called "Caesar Act" into an economic and social opportunity, pointing out that the enforcement of the law expresses the American failure after the victory and resilience of Syria!!
Media outlets reported these words, which were stated in his speech while he was receiving Lebanese events. “Your presence indicates your awareness that targeting Syria is targeting you and Lebanon. Neither Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, nor Palestine can be distanced from the other, which is a fact that Israeli and Americans realize.” Ali added, "Syria faced the aggression, which used all types of weapons in its war, however, Syria resisted and won. This resilience and victory thwarted Americans and terrified them, thus, they put this law into effect, expressing their failure and their despair after Syria's victory with the support of its allies and Friends." Referring to "the confusion that is taking place inside the United States manifested in human rights violation and the practice of criminality and inhumanity."
The ''smart'' Buthaina Shaaban, Assad's counselor, has overcome Ali's smartness for resilience. Was her smartness not assured when she stated that, currently, the Syrian economy is five times better than it was before 2011? If the ''counselor'' wanted to be clearer, she rather should have stated that ''her'' wealth and the wealth of all of Assad mafia elements is fifty times – or more- better than it was before the revolution.
The government statements indicted unanimously that Syria will take actions and overcome the Western Sanctions, through "self-reliance." However, United Nations aid agencies were not convinced by what the ''smart'' counselor Shaaban and the Assad government stated. Aid agencies have warned that Syria undergoes an unprecedented food crisis. The World Food Program stated that the number of people lacking basic foodstuffs increased by 1.4 million in the past 6 months. The Program spokeswoman, Elizabeth Byers, stated that food commodity prices have increased by more than %200 in less than one year due to the economic collapse in Lebanon and the general curfew measures imposed by Syria to control the emerging Corona virus.

Reactions of Assad's supporters and loyalists:
Assad's loyalists are expected to find nothing other than the negative effects of the "Caesar Act" on their Livelihood, which had already been greatly damaged before the enactment and implementation of this law. Therefore, they poured all their anger and criticism on the United States and sanctions, being compatible with the regime's speech as they also, restored the conspiracy theory concept. This is what they publicly declare, in particular on the regime's media, however, outside from the arena of the regime's media. Their despair can be clearly detected due to this poor and degrading situation that the regime has imposed on them when all they wanted was most basic needs of livelihood. When directly communicating with circles close or far to the regime, they describe it with the most heinous aspects, yet they do not hold it responsible on social media explicitly. However, they do not wonder why, how, and who brought them to this situation and what should be done now. This will be further elaborated in a later paragraph about who destroyed the Syrian economy, when and how before the "Caesar Act" came into effect and even before the revolution.

Third current reactions:
When we refer to the third current, we do not refer to a current that arose after the "Caesar Act'' issuance, but rather the current that distinguished itself within the revolution ranks due to the religious aspect of large sectors within the revolution ranks and due to the violence it practiced. We are not going to discuss circumstances that made a large number of revolutionaries adopt religious and sectarian principles and the conditions that forced them to choose violence in their revolutionary political practice. However, we want to confirm that this third current is a real and actual opposition to the regime and its position on the "Caesar Act" is principled and not opportunistic.
They may have missed the fact that the "Caesar Act," contains paragraphs that intersect with its sincere demands and goals. Consequently, it was more appropriate for this current to adopt these aspects as its original demands and not completely reject the law and stand absolutely against it.
There are demands in the paragraph of suspending the law enforcement, that basically correspond to the positions of this current towards the regime’s repressive and brutal practices. Thus, in case it adopts these demands, it will be in accordance with its demands yet unfortunately, it has not!
Under the heading: Law Enforcement Suspension
Under item 3 heading: General Provisions, Article 301 of the Caesar Act stipulates cases in which the application of this law may be suspended, namely:

First: In general - the president may, totally or partially, suspend imposing sanctions required by this law for periods not exceeding 180 days, if the president decides that the following criteria have been met in Syria:

1. The Syrian government or the Russian Federation government no longer use the airspace over Syria to target civilians by incendiary devices, including barrel bombs, chemical and conventional weapons; like missiles and explosives.
2. Areas besieged by the Syrian government, the Russian Federation government, the Iranian government, or foreign personnel included in “this law,” are no longer isolated from international aid and regular access to humanitarian aid, freedom of travel and medical care.
3. The release of all political prisoners, by the Syrian government, who are forcibly held in the regime's prison and the Syrian government allowing to have full access to the same facilities for investigations by appropriate international human rights organizations.

4. In case that the Syrian government forces, the Russian Federation government, the Iranian government and any foreign personnel included in “this law,” are no longer involved in the deliberate targeting of Medical facilities, schools, residential areas and civilian gathering locations, including markets, in violation of International standards.

Second: The Syrian government must:
1. Take steps to ensure its fulfillment of its obligations under the concluded convention, at Geneva on 3 September 1992, on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and their destruction. This law entered into force on April 29, 1997 known as the "Chemical Weapons Convention" and the treaty of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, concluded in Washington, London And Moscow on July 1, 1968 and entered into force on March 5, 1970.
2. Significant progress towards becoming a signatory to the convention on the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of biological and toxic weapons and on their destruction, concluded in Washington, London and Moscow on April 10, 1972, which entered into force on March 26, 1975.

Third: the Syrian government allow the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Syrians displaced by the conflict.
Fourth: the Syrian government take verifiable steps to establish meaningful accountability for perpetrators of war crimes in Syria and justice for victims of war crimes committed by Assad regime, including participation in a real and credible process of truth and reconciliation.
Thus, the United States President has the right - according to the text of the Caesar Act - to suspend the implementation of the imposed sanctions under this law, within a maximum period of 180 days, if the above-mentioned conditions are met. This is the first declared reason behind the issuance of the Law.
The US president will provide a briefing to the Congress, within 30 days of sanctions suspension, assessing the situation arising from the law enforcement suspension. The President will re-impose any suspended sanction if he finds that the suspension criteria, stipulated in the law are no longer met.

1-4 The reactions of the radical opposition to the regime:
Some Syrian opponents might say that the "Caesar Act" came late, while some others might also say, that it is better to come late than never.



2- "Caesar's Law": A Problematic Process and Laborious Consequence:
The Caesar Civilian Protection Act in Syria has undergone multiple stages and several proposed drafts and bills have been formulated by the US Congress bipartisan directed against the Syrian government. Some previous versions of the Caesar Act project included a proposal to create no-fly zones over Syria along with other suggestions. The HR5732 draft has long remained in the Congress despite approval by Democrats and Republicans alike. On 15 November 2016, the House of Representatives had unanimously stated the Caesar Act for the Protection of Civilians in Syria (HR 5732).
It is the legislation that was expected to impose "new sanctions" on the Syrian government. In fact, this version of the legislation would have required the US president to submit a report to the Congress on possibilities of imposing a "no-fly zone" in Syria. The bill had also authorized the Minister of Foreign Affairs to support entities that collect and preserve evidences for the final trial of those who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria from March 2011 till now.
The president would also have been required to submit a report to the Congress regarding names of those responsible for the grave violations committed against the Syrian people and those involved in all these crimes. However, the final version of the Caesar Act, which came into force on June 17, 2020, adopted sanctions and did not adopt the imposing a "no-fly zone". This is not in the interest of Syrian civilians, as the no-fly zone is more effective against the regime, Russia and Iran. Similarly, Assad's Opponents who revolted against him are avoiding negative effects of the sanctions. However, the American Administration preferred the easiest and safest way, according to its interests, of course.

The difference between the Caesar Act and previous US sanctions:
Before the Syrian revolution, the various American administrations have imposed sanctions on Syria. For example, sanctions imposed in 2004, under Executive Order 13388, were to confront the Syrian regime's Policy of their ongoing occupation of Lebanon, supporting terrorism and pursuing programs of weapons of Mass destruction and missiles. This was followed by sanctions imposed under Executive Order No. 1399 Which came after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri and 22 other Lebanese in 2005. Likewise, after the Syrian revolution, Obama's administration imposed many sanctions on the Syrian regime, including the law on accountability for perpetrators of human rights violations in Syria.

What distinguishes the Caesar Act from those sanctions is that:
1. It targets all those dealing with the Syrian government, including non-American foreigners, while other sanctions targeted American people only.
2. It specified a five-year renewable period for the validity of its effects, while the previous sanctions were open-term and remain in effect until they are canceled by a special executive order from the authority that issued them.

Areas of the law enforcement:
After reading the Caesar Law texts, it is obvious that it includes two types of sanctions. One can be described as "sectoral sanctions" that target specific economic or financial sectors, such as aviation, oil and gas, technology, building materials and engineering services. Likewise, the financial and banking sectors and the other one is described as “individual sanctions” that target specific groups of persons and entities that are affiliated with the Syrian government which help them commit more crimes against Syrian civilians.
The first category of sanctions aims to deprive the Syrian government of its economic and financial resources, as well as to limit technology services that help it develop the capabilities of its security and military apparatus which, results in reducing its ability to harm civilians in Syria.
As for the second category, it aims to deter those dealing with the Syrian government in particular. In a way that they are forced to compare benefits that they can conclude from their dealings with it and the potential losses from preventing them from dealing with the US government. It also aims to create a state of general deterrence for everyone who think about dealing with the Syrian government, as they will risk losing greater and deeper interests represented by their dealings with the United States government.
Among the important aspects that must be noted is that the Caesar Act does not only prevent American citizens and persons from dealing with the Syrian government, but rather targets any non-American natural or legal person, as well as foreign entities and states.
It must also, be noted that the law used the phrase “the Syrian government” when it spoke about issues of implementing imposed sanctions on people and entities, in case that they dealt with it. It did not use the common phrase in political dealings, meaning “the Syrian regime.” This is, of course, due to the difference in terminology between the language of legislation and law and the language of politics.
The Legislator does not use floating terms that are not defined according to fixed legal rules, since the Language of law is characterized by many features, the most important of which are generality and Stability. While politicians use absolutely floating, flexible and not clear terms to express positions that change according to the change of interests that require considering them. Thus, when the law used the term “the Syrian regime” in Paragraph 3 of item 1 of Article 301, in the context of its requirement “the release of all political prisoners who are forcibly detained in the prison system of Bashar al-Assad's regime”; it was distinguishing between the official government, which does not have any effective control over this file and the security services who has the actual decision.

Perhaps this clarification dispels some of the fears that arose in hearts of many Syrians, which were naturally reinforced by the propaganda policy that the Syrian regime used to confront the benefits of this law. That the sanctions would not continue to include Syria after it undergoes political change. The explanation of the section related to suspending the implementation of this law and the section regarding its termination, will have a clear effect on removing these concerns.
Law enforcement exceptions:
The article 302 of Caesar Act stipulates two types of exceptions, under the name of waivers and exemptions, which are:
First: Exemptions:
The following activities and transactions are exempt from sanctions according to this law:
1-Any activity is subject to reporting requirements, under the fifth Title of the National Security Act of 1947.
2- Any necessary transaction to comply with the United States' obligations under:
A-The agreement related to the United Nations headquarters, signed on June 26, 1947, and entered into force on November 21, 1947, between the United Nations and the United States.
B - The Consular Relations Agreement, concluded in Vienna on April 24, 1963, and entered into force on March 19, 1967.
3-Any other international agreement to which the United States is a party.

Second: General concessions:
In general, the president may, for periods not exceeding 180 days, waive the application of any provision of this Act to a foreign person. This is in case if the president acknowledges for the appropriate congressional committees that such waiver is in the United Nations national security interest.

Third: Humanitarian concessions:
In general, the president may waive the application of any provision of this Act on NGOs that provide humanitarian assistance that are not covered by the delegation described in Section 201. This is in case if the president certifies, for renewable periods not exceeding two years, to the appropriate congressional committees that this waiver is important to meet humanitarian need and is consistent with the national security interest of the United States.
Accordingly, we can indicate that the law has provided for the exclusion of specific cases from the sanctions stipulated in the law. These cases are limited to meeting humanitarian needs and are not inconsistent with requirements of US national security. In addition to requirements of the United Nations headquarters agreement and the Consular Relations Agreement and provisions of any international agreement to which the United States is a party.

Expiry Date of the Law:
The Article 305 stipulated that “the validity of this law shall end after 5 years from the date this law was enacted”.
This will have a positive impact on the Syrian community in the United States, if the Democrats win the upcoming elections. It is expected that they will impede its implementation, as President Obama did previously. They will not be able to significantly influence efforts to renew it, given that their term will expire before its term expires. This will allow the Syrian community supporting the revolution to intensify its efforts to extend the law, in case that the political transition process in Syria is not achieved during this period.

Effects of the Law Enforcement:
The effects of law enforcement are distributed in several respects, all of which must be looked at to cover the possible consequences it will imply:

First: Political Effects:
The law suspended political efforts made by a number of Arab regimes to rehabilitate the Syrian regime and severely hindered Russia's efforts to penetrate the Arabic arena, through specific countries such as Algeria, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Iraq.
The law will prevent Russia from converting its military victories, achieved by using excessive violence and internationally banned weapons, into political outcomes. It will be impossible for Russia to claim that it made peace after it won militarily, as peace requires economic stability. However, this will not be achieved without the return of displaced people and refugees to their cities and villages. This will not be accomplished without achieving a political transition that eliminates the reason that pushed them to displacement and migration. Their return will not be achieved if there is no clearly defined and internationally supported program for reconstruction and the latter will not take place without fulfilling conditions set by the law
No doubt that Russia is trying to barter the Syrian file with the Americans for other files that are more strategic, sensitive and relevant to its national security and airspace. Such as the Crimean file and the Ukrainian file, however it is not in a position to impose its conditions. It is the greatest affected from the constant attrition with the inability to compensate under the great collapse of financial and economic conditions in Syria. Therefore, this will be added to the record of setbacks in the Russian foreign policy.
Without question, the Syrian opposition can get some political gains, if it is able to take advantage of the tremendous pressure that the law provides on regional states and international actors in the Syrian file. However, first it must regain its popular legitimacy that it lost during the past years for many reasons, which cannot be mentioned now. Second, it must form a political crisis cell to renew the demand for Syrians rights and to show the intersection of this with the interests of different countries in establishing international security, stability and peace.
In addition, it must work to invest the Syrian communities supporting the revolution and residing in Europe, to obtain penal code similar to the Caesar Act. Since depriving the Syrian regime and its supporters of dealing with European countries, will constitute a milestone in the path of political transformation in Syria. For it is simply besieging and limiting the reasons for rehabilitation of this regime and its return to the international arena.
This law will create a major tension in the relationship between the Syrian regime and the Iranian regime and its regional affiliates such as "Hezbollah." The blockade of resources of both parties will reduce the hard currency and will make it difficult for the regime's allies to supply it with aid and the foundations for continuing the war on the Syrian people.

Second: Economic Effects
The law will have an enormous impact on impeding efforts to rebuild Syria, while Assad regime continues to rule. Meaning that, this process will stop until the stipulated requirements by the law, are fulfilled. It is known that the largest potential financiers of reconstruction are the USA, the European Union and some Gulf states, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. It will be difficult, if not impossible, for these parties to consider financing the reconstruction in Syria under the enforcement of Caesar Act provisions.
The law will, undoubtedly, affect the living conditions of Syrians residing in regime-controlled areas and limit the ability of state institutions to secure fuel, aircraft spare parts, communications technology and other materials and services needed for the citizen. However, the priority for this regime has always been securing supplies for the army and security services and the last thing it considers, is securing the citizens' needs.
It will affect the Syrian regime's official sources of foreign exchange. Therefore, the regime will appropriate them from Syrians by issuing laws and decisions that prohibit dealing with them outside the framework of its banks and its documentary cycle according to the exchange rates that it sets. The Syrian pound will collapse even more, until it is practically worthless. However, the main reason for this is not the law itself, but rather the devastation and destruction caused by the regime's policy itself. As they have destroyed sources of agricultural and industrial production and components of trade and tourism.


Third: Legal Effects:
The law will support efforts to collect evidence relating to violations of war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed in Syria. This may have a significant impact in the future on the progress of investigations concerning the ongoing violations in Syria and the ongoing prosecutions of perpetrators outside Syria.

3- Roots of the Economic Crisis in Syria:
The age of the economic crisis in Syria is 50 years, 5 decades and half a century, under the authority of Assad family. In addition to the fact that it is persisting, however, it cannot be described as permanent. As it is a deep systematic crisis that has its roots in the productive infrastructure of the economy. Assad, the father, usurped power in Syria and the US dollar price which is less than 4 S.P. Eventually, the rule of this family seems to not end until the dollar is worth 4000 S.P. or more.
Assad, the father, obtained huge financial resources that Syria had never witnessed in its history. He had billions of dollars in his hands from the increase in oil production and the huge rebound in prices after Tishreen war in 1973. They were also, obtained from Arab grants and aid after the war and from revenues of Iraqi oil passage through Syria to Baniyas oil downstream. Assad, the father, managed these resources with the mentality of the sultan in a Medieval sultanate state, not with the mentality of a republic president in “a modern state." As in the sultanate State, the treasury of the state is the same as the pocket of the Sultan. There was no development, but rather a stifling economic crisis in mid-eighties of the 20th century. Among its indicators; the shrinking of assets of the Syrian commercial bank from hard currency in 1987 to about (71 thousand) dollars only.
The value of the Syrian currency declined ten times more than 3.9 S.P. for 1 dollar in the 1970s to nearly 45 S.P. in the late 1980s then it increased to 50 S.P. in the 1990s. A broad deterioration of the middle classes in Syria to join the poor entities and this has been accompanied by tempting opportunities for parasitic and illegitimate enrichment.
Nevertheless, during the reign of Assad the son, the situation did not become better. A report was prepared by the State Planning Commission for the midterm review and evaluation of the 10th five-year plan (2006-2010) related to investment, production, financial and monetary aspects, foreign, industrial and agricultural trade and other economic issues. This report concluded that the implementation of economic reform programs had a relative negative impact on incomes and expenditures as the real income growth rates decreased which positively left an impact on human development.
The report summarized what the Syrian economy suffers from in terms of weak investment environment, Low productivity, weak participation of the private sector. In addition to intense international rivalry and a significant decline in raw material prices. The report pointed to the growth rates in Syria at the global Level which do not possess permanency elements in view of continuing imbalance which was identified in depth and before the plan. The report emphasized the slow pace of institutional development, weak productivity in general, and the weak use of technology. In addition to lack of coordination at the level of different sectors, the decline in global demand, and the continuation of the unemployment problem. Especially, unemployment of youth and the problem of fairness in income distribution between individuals and regions. Based on that report, challenges facing the Syrian economy can be concluded as the following; difficult internal obstacles. These obstacles are depicted in a weak investment environment, low productivity, weak private sector participation. Likewise, external obstacles; which are represented in international rivalry and severe financial crises. This was the economic situation before the revolution and before the Caesar Act.
On Monday, 29, June 2020, David Beasley, the Director of the United Nations World Food Program, warned of the danger of a huge famine that will face Syria and the population displacement towards Europe if aid is not provided urgently. "Almost half of Syrians sleep while hungry, while the famine threatens about one million people," the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) quoted Biasly as he stated a day before a conference for donors. Biasly stressed that a number of the population will have no choice but to flee the country and head towards the European continent, as happened in 2015.
The United Nations World Food Program announced on Friday, 26, June 2020 that the number of people lacking basic foodstuffs has increased by 1.4 million within the past six months, bringing their number to 9.3 million. The program spokeswoman, Elizabeth Byers, indicated that food commodity prices rose by more than %200 in less than one year due to the economic collapse in neighboring Lebanon. In addition to the general isolation measures imposed by Syria to contain Covid-19 pandemic. Lately, prices have witnessed a frenzy that has reached several times over due to the collapse of the Syrian pound to dollar due to western sanctions.
Assad government and its supporters attribute the economic deterioration in the country to the "Caesar Act" imposed by the United States. On the other hand, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) stated in a report in early May 2016 that % 28 of Syrians were below the poverty line until 2010; before the Syrian revolution.
Despite the economic and living conditions that the Syrians suffered from, %90 of them became below the poverty line before the implementation of the Caesar Act. According to the representative of the "World Health Organization" in Syria, Assad continues to supply his militias with weapons and oil to claim lives of more Syrians at the expense of their livelihood. Bashar Al-Assad, is considered, since he assumed power on 17th of July 2000, responsible for the eradication of the middle class and the reinforcement of class inequality in the structure of the Syrian society.
He placed the country's resources at the disposal of businessmen and officers close to him, at the expense of the poor. Moreover, he reduced privileges of the rich and diversified Syrian economy to a group of his men who expressed their loyalty in exchange for the people's sustenance. This took place in a period when the country's national income has accumulated in his bank accounts, from oil revenues and underground and agricultural resources.
Over a period of 9 years, the Syrian economy has been subjected to a massive destruction. Before implementing the law, international and local institutions estimated the losses of the Syrian economy at half a trillion dollars. A study prepared by the "Syrian Center for Research Studies" (non-governmental), published in late May, estimated that the losses of the Syrian economy since the start of the war in 2011 until the beginning of 2020 amounted to about 530 billion dollars, equivalent to 9.7 times of the country's GDP in 2010.
According to the study's estimates, the percentage of destruction in the infrastructure as a result of battles in the country exceeded %40. As the infrastructure losses included more than a quarter of the civilian's buildings, half of the electricity networks, and half of schools, hospitals and service facilities. In addition, according to BP estimates, there has been a sharp decline in crude oil production, from 400 thousand barrels per day in 2010 to less than 30 thousand barrels per day now.
Throughout a period of 9 years, the country's public debt increased to more than %200 of the GDP, while the unemployment rate approached increased from %15 in 2010 to %50 and %85 of the Syrian people lives below the poverty line.
For the first time, the sanctions included the Central Bank of Syria, as the law permits monitoring of the bank's money laundering activities. The law gives the US Treasury Secretary the authority, within 90 days of the Law’s entry into force, to determine whether there are reasonable factors for considering the Central Syrian bank a financial institution with a primary interest in money laundering. If this is proven, it is up to the Minister (Treasury), in coordination with the relevant federal bodies, to impose the punitive measures stipulated in the "Caesar Act".
The Syrian pound has already collapsed, even before the law came into force, and after its implementation it is vulnerable to further collapse. Since the start of the war in 2011, the Syrian pound has gone through a long journey of decline, from a price ranging around 50 pounds to the dollar at the beginning of the war, to exceed the dollar exchange rate of 3500 S.P. in early June.
In such situations, Al-Muallem, the Foreign Minister of Assad, has the courage to speak at a press conference, that it is necessary to seek to transform the “Caesar Act” into an opportunity to “advance the national economy,” “achieve self-sufficiency,” and “deepen cooperation with friends and allies in various fields." He Stressed that the battle against terrorism "will not stop." Needless to remind him that his friends and allies are in critical economic situations and they, themselves, need someone to help them.

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