Bishop brands sanctions against Syria ‘criminal’

A worker with humanitarian aid at the Syrian border (CNS/Khalil Ashawi, Reuters)

One of Syria’s top bishops has called international sanctions against Syria “criminal”, saying they have little political impact but cause suffering for the poor and those already worn down by more than a decade of civil war. Source: Crux.

The prelate also questioned the intentions of Western nations who’ve imposed the sanctions, saying there’s an impression among some that the sanctions have been issued for geopolitical motives tied more to a political agenda that the welfare of the Syrian people.

In remarks to Fides News, the official information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, Bishop Georges Abou Khazen, Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo for Catholics of the Latin rite, said that “perpetuating the sanctions against Syria means condemning many people to death”.

Bishop Khazen’s remarks come after the European Union last week extended sanctions against members and bodies linked to the Syrian government and imposed fresh sanctions on four new ministers recently appointed to the Syrian government on grounds that they are aiding the repression of civilians in the war-torn country.

This follows a similar move by US President Joe Biden in May, when he extended unilateral sanctions against Syria for another year. In July, Mr Biden issued a new set of sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for human rights violations.

Church leaders in Syria and representatives of Catholic international aid organisations have long argued that sanctions do little in the way of changing the status quo, but actually make life harder for people on the ground.

“It is always the poor who pay, while the rich and those in charge are spared,” Bishop Khazen said. “That is why we keep saying here that these sanctions are criminal.”

FULL STORY

Top Syrian bishop calls US, EU sanctions against the country ‘criminal’ (By Elise Ann Allen, Crux

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