Heightened Sanctions for SyriaAugust 24, 2011, 06:54 PM
On August 18, 2011, President Obama signed an executive order imposing additional sanctions on Syria. These sanctions block all assets of the Syrian Government subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. In addition, all U.S. persons are prohibited from exporting or reexporting services to Syria and operating or investing in Syria. All imports of Syrian-origin petroleum or petroleum products are banned, and U.S. persons are prohibited from having any dealings in or related to Syrian-origin petroleum or petroleum products. These sanctions will immediately supplement the strict sanctions already imposed on Syrian exports/imports. Along with these additional sanctions, the Treasury Departments Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also added several Syrian energy companies to the List of Specially Designated Nationals. U.S. persons must refrain from engaging in any transactions with such parties or risk the imposition of a hefty penalty. Companies are still welcome to apply for a license if they wish to engage in a prohibited transaction. In fact, OFAC has just promulgated a series of general licenses to authorize certain transactions with Syria that are now otherwise prohibited due to the new sanctions. These general licenses are for diplomatic services, legal services, bank service charges, services incidental to authorized exportation, internet based services, and personal remittances.