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  • Protests against the Ceasar Act at the Umayyad Square, Damascus, Syria, June 11, 2020.

    Protests against the Ceasar Act at the Umayyad Square, Damascus, Syria, June 11, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 17 June 2020
Opinion

The Trump administration's sanctions against Syria come into effect amid an economic crisis exacerbated by war, the pandemic, and currency devaluation.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump’s administration enacted the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, an unilateral sanctions instrument that has been incorporated into the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

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In a reply to this new expression of U.S. Foreign policy, the Syrian government said the Caesar Act is a new form of terrorism against its people at a time when the country is experiencing one of its worst economic crises since the start of the war in 2011.

"The escalation of sanctions against the Syrian people adds a new dimension and form to terrorism... the Caesar Law shows that the U.S. government has violated all international norms and laws and... has hit rock bottom with bandit behavior," a Syrian Foreign Ministry's unidentified official source said.

The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also announced sanctions against Syria’s President Bashar Hafez al-Assad and 38 people who have done business with his administration.

"The legislation warns Washington’s friends and foes alike, worldwide institutions, businesses, and officials that engagement in any business with the government of Assad could lead to travel bans, denial of access to capital, and arrest," the Arab News explained.

The entry into force of the U.S. sanctions occurs at a time when Syria is being torn by nine consecutive years of civil war and a serious economic crisis.

On Wednesday, the Central Bank announced a 78-percent devaluation of the Syrian pound, after which the local currency acquires the value of 1,256 units for each U.S. dollar.

In January, however, the local currency was in a better position as one U.S. dollar was worth 704 Syrian pounds.

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