EU expands sanctions on Syria and European institutions Stop supporting opposition institutions in northern Syria

A high-level European source in Brussels announced this week that the Council of the European Union and the level of foreign ministers planned at its meeting on January 21 to expand the list of sanctions against Syria.

The source said that 11 people and 5 organizations will be added to the black European list against Syria.

“It is expected that the list of sanctions against Syria will be renewed”, the source said, speaking ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers of the 28 EU member states.

“The names will be published in the official magazine of the European Union, after a formal decision was made on Monday”, the source said.

The EU sanctions package, which has been steadily promoted from 2011 to 2014, is one of the most important sanctions in the history of the European Union, which includes almost all types of European trade contacts with Syria, especially in the field of oil and petroleum products trade.

In addition, there are sanctions imposed on the leadership of Syria.

The European black list includes, in particular, President Bashar Al Assad, the majority of his family and relatives, a number of ministers, officials, businessmen and companies close to the Syrian government, in addition to a near-total ban on financial transactions with Syria.

On the other hand, in a repeat of the scenario witnessed in the south of the country before the Syrian army controls it, and in line with the decision of the US administration, European institutions suspended some of their support for the institutions of the Syrian opposition in the north-west of the country.

“Some European institutions, especially French, German and those under the European Union, have suspended their support for all the interim government’s health directorates in the Idlib, Aleppo, Hama and Latakia regions”, said Monther Khalil, the director of Idlib’s health department.

“The main reason for stopping support is the change of powers that control the area”, Khalil said.

These changes of power came after the Sham Liberation Organization (Al Nasra Front) launched a comprehensive military operation in the entire province of Idlib and the western Aleppo countryside, in which it managed to expel most of the Syrian opposition militias such as Nur Eddin Al Zenki to Afrin, forcing also the Ahrar Al Sham militia to resolve itself at the countryside of Hama.

The Sham Liberation Organization (Al Nasra Front) controlled the entire countryside of Aleppo and Idlib, as well as areas in the northern Hama countryside.

“The Support has stopped on stabilization projects not life-saving projects such as hospitals, health centers and ambulances, which were included in the suspension but only slightly”, Khalil said.

The Directorate of Health in Idlib published a statement announcing the start of volunteer work for all its employees and facilities supported by the most prominent: Al Bakhtiya Specialist Hospital, Al Hikma Hospital in Taftnaz, The Blood bank of Idlib, the epidemiological laboratory in Harim.

The health departments of Hama and Aleppo, which belong to the Syrian opposition, also issued a statement confirming what they called “the civil work carried out by the hospitals and health centers, away from the military and political changes in the region” and calling on international and local bodies to “neutralize the medical sector”.

Khalil estimated the support rate for all projects to be about 30 percent.

For his part, the director of health department in Aleppo, Mohamed Haj Kaddour, said that «the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) has suspended its activities completely, while a statement issued by its directorate that the suspension began since 11 January.

According to a number of websites, the position of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which in turn supports Idlib, is still unknown as to whether or not to suspend support.

On December 3, 2018, OVEDA resumed its support in Idlib after commenting last September, amid fears that it would stop completely.

In May last year, CBS News reported that Trump administration has stopped all its aid from northwest Syria.

After the Syrian army took control of the entire province of Daraa last year, US institutions announced the suspension of their support for southern Syria, especially flour, which was provided to the armed groups.