US allows some foreign investment in areas outside govt. control in Syria
Despite its tough economic sanctions against Syria, the United States has allowed some foreign investment in northern areas of the Arab country that are under the control of militants from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
On Thursday, the US Treasury Department approved activities in 12 sectors including agriculture, construction, and finance, but made clear that it did not permit any transactions with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or those designated under the so-called Caesar Act.
US officials, however, stressed that the move should be seen as helpful to efforts by some countries for Syria’s return to the Arab fold. They reiterated that Washington had no intention of lifting sanctions on the Damascus government.
“Private sector investment in these areas will help reduce the likelihood of ISIS (Daesh) resurgence by combating the desperate conditions that enable the terrorist groups’ recruitment and support network,” a senior US administration official said on condition of anonymity.
The US official added that there was interest from private companies including those working in neighboring countries, but he did not provide names.
The license also authorized purchases of oil products such as gasoline in the area, except for transactions involving the Syrian government or those designated under US sanctions.
It did not permit the import of Syrian-origin petroleum or petroleum products to the United States.
The US military has stationed forces and equipment in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh terrorists. Damascus says the deployment is meant to plunder the country’s resources.
Former US president Donald Trump admitted on more than one occasion that American forces were in Syria for its oil.
After failing to oust the Syrian government through proxies and direct involvement in the conflict, the US government has stepped up its economic war on the Wes Asian country.