New Sanctions on Syria Would Not Be Surprise – US analyst

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – More US sanctions against the Syrian government could be on the horizon in the aftermath of significant findings by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said Alexander Langlois, an American analyst on Tuesday.

The OPCW said it had found “reasonable grounds” to believe that the Syrian government, aided by Russia, was behind a 2018 chemical weapons attack near Damascus. A joint US, UK, French and German statement had condemned the perpetrators.

In an exclusive statement to North Press, Langlois said “The joint statement […] offers much the same of the same language that led to unilateral action against the regime in the past,” adding, “In terms of US actions, new sanctions would not come as a surprise.”

Yet the political analyst cautions against great expectations, “The chemical weapons file often feels like an afterthought within a Syria file that is, frankly, an afterthought already.” “I don’t see it as a core pillar [of US policy in the region].”

Langlois argued that the human rights protection ‘file’ in regards to Syria forms part of US policy in the region, but long ago lost the limelight to the anti-ISIS mission and curbing Iran’s influence in the country. These goals, unlike accountability for human rights violations, are feasible for the Biden administration, according to the American analyst. 

“Importantly, however, [the joint statement] includes Russia,” and specifically, Russian “obstruction” in its condemnation of the chemical weapons attack. Langlois suggested that Russia could be subject to “unilateral action” for this finding. Though, as the analyst explained, this would be as much about the war in Ukraine as it would be that being fought in Syria.  

Reporting by Hadeel Oueiss

Editing by Sasha Hoffman