World, Middle East

US lifts sanctions on YPG-held Syrian territories

Business with Syrian regime unaffected by announcement, is still prohibited under US law

Michael Gabriel Hernandez   | 13.05.2022
US lifts sanctions on YPG-held Syrian territories


The US on Thursday issued a general license to exempt northern Syrian territories, including those controlled by the PKK's regional branch, from American sanctions. 

The Treasury Department's action lifts prohibitions on business activities in 12 different economic sectors in northern Syria, including agriculture, telecommunications, power grid infrastructure, construction, manufacturing, trade, finance and clean energy.

Purchases of Syrian oil from the region are also permitted as long as they do not benefit the regime.

The areas that are covered by the license run from Aleppo governorate in the west to Hasakah governorate in the east. Geographical exemptions to the affected area are included.

Any business with the Syrian regime is unaffected by the announcement and is still prohibited under US law. Importing Syrian oil to the US also remains prohibited, according to the license, which was signed by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control Director, Andrea Gacki.

The US has imposed sweeping sanctions on the regime and its leadership in retaliation for atrocities it has committed during the Syrian conflict, which is now in its 12th year.

The YPG, which is the Syrian branch of the PKK, remains in control of large swathes of northeastern Syria with US backing.

The PKK is a designated terrorist organization in Turkiye and the US. But Washington has refrained from similarly designating the YPG and continues to partner with it in the region against the Daesh/ISIS terror group despite adamant protests from Ankara.

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