The Syrian Opposition Coalition’s (SOC) Caesar Act Follow-up Team held its third formal meeting with the Caesar Act implementation team in the US administration.
The meeting brought together SOC’s President Nasr Al-Hariri, members of the political committee, Minister of Finance and Economy in the Syrian Interim Government, Abdel Hakim Al-Masri, and SOC’s representative to the United States Qutaiba Idlibi.
Al-Hariri welcomed the fourth batch of sanctions the US administration has recently announced. He talked about the SOC’s work to support the Caesar Act and expose the Assad regime’s attempts to blame the Act for the economic failure and poor living conditions in the areas under its control.
Al-Hariri made it clear that the Assad regime and its backers are to blame for the economic meltdown in Syria after the regime gave up Syria’s major resources and assets and due to its insistence on pursuing a military solution.
Moreover, Al-Hariri pointed out that the sanctions that were imposed on the Assad under the Caesar Act are not economic sanctions against the Syrian state, but rather a punishment for those who destroyed the economy. He said that the Act excludes humanitarian aid, food and medical supplies.
Al-Hariri also stressed that the Act should not exclude any country or entity that establishes or wishes to establish economic relations with the Assad regime. He said that the SOC is looking forward for sanctions that are more focused on the regime’s economic core and its parallel economy.
Participants discussed the four lists that were issued under the Caesar Act and and the impact of these lists on the economy of the Assad regime. They also discussed the ongoing smuggling of weapons by the Assad regime, the Hezbollah militia, and Iranian militias between Syria and Lebanon.
They also discussed the revenue that the Assad regime is generating through the issuance of official documents and passports for Syrians outside Syria.
For their part, members of the Caesar Act implementation team in the US administration stressed the importance of these meetings as they stressed the SOC’s effective role in the implementation of the Act. They stressed the need for continued cooperation, especially with regard to exchange of information.
Coordinator of the SOC’s Caesar Act Follow-up Team, Abdul Majeed Barakat, talked about on the Team’s work in the months to come. He handed the US officials a study on the impact of the previous four lists on the Assad regime’s economy.
Barakat put forward proposals that would affect the economy of the regime, including ways to address smuggling operations between Syria and Lebanon, preventing the Assad regime from using Lebanon as a backyard to dodge sanctions, and preventing the regime from generating revenue through the issuance of legal documents and passports. (Source: SOC’s Media Department)