Sanctions & Financial Restrictions: Additional Challenges for a Limited Syrian Civic Space

July 9, 2020

Recent political and economic developments in Lebanon, the impact of COVID-19, the measures imposed by the Syrian regime to criminalize anyone who is dealing with foreign currencies, and the activation of the sanction provisions of the US Caesar Act as well as EU sanctions and restrictive measures imposed – have all had direct and indirect impacts on Syrian civil society and aggravated the conditions in which Syrian civil society is operating.

Although the international community has been attempting to engage with Syrian civil society, it has at the same time hindered its work and progress through the imposition of inconsistent policies and restrictive measures.
This poses a serious question about whether the international community, particularly the EU Member States, have a genuine political will to restructure their aid and financial systems in order to better support Syrian civil society.

This policy brief highlights and provides recommendations for some of the longstanding challenges that Syrian civil
society organizations (CSOs) have been facing, with a particular focus on community-based organizations (CBOs) that operate in regime-held areas, which continue to evolve and have become increasingly difficult to overcome.