More US sanctions against Syria. The president's wife is also targeted

The effects of the Caesar Act, approved by Washington in December, enter into force. Targeted figures include Asthma al-Assad. The rules affect those who provide financial, technological or material support to Damascus. Experts say they will end up hitting an already weakened civilian population.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The United States has imposed new, very harsh economic sanctions against Syria, with the aim of blocking foreign investments and activities with the government of Damascus and President Bashar al-Assad. The punitive measures contained within the Caesar Act are intended to force the Syrian leadership to "stop its murderous attacks" against civilians and accept a peaceful political transition.

For the first time Asma al-Assad, wife of the Syrian president, is among the entities and personalities targeted by the sanctions there is also. However, experts, activists and religious point out that punitive measures end up affecting not the leaders in power, but the civilian population, increasing their suffering after years of war and a severe economic crisis worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.

For decades, the United States has imposed sanctions against Damascus. The punitive measures have further accelerated since 2011, following the outbreak of the civil war which over time has become a proxy conflict between opposing powers. The Caesar Act, approved in December, derives its name from the war photographer who allegedly documented the torture and atrocities inside Syrian prisons in over 50,000 shots.

The norm provides for sanctions against foreigners who: provide significant financial, material or technological support to the Syrian government or to foreigners who collaborate with the military and intelligence; who sell or supply goods, services, technology or information that promote Damascus' production of oil or gas; who enter into construction contracts in areas under the control of the Syrian government and its allies.

Analysts and experts point out that the country's economy is already on its knees and the first to pay the consequences are ordinary citizens, who were now hungrier and weaker than a year ago. Many also believe that the provisions contained in the decree will end up missing the target, while at the same time hitting the hopes of recovery for ordinary people.

A source from the Syrian Foreign Ministry, relaunched by the national agency Sana, attacks the sanctions that violate international law and accuses the US leadership in Washington of behaving like a criminal "gang". Criticisms of the measure also come from Russia, according to which they aim to "overthrow" the legitimate government, and from China, because they target "vulnerable nations such as Syria, which struggle with the pandemic: imposing new sanctions is inhuman".