Washington greenlights economic activities in multiple economic sectors in the region including areas controlled by the PKK-YPG terror group, which often targets America’s NATO ally Türkiye in cross-border attacks.
The US has issued a general license to exempt northern Syrian territories, including those controlled by the PKK terror group’s regional branch, from American sanctions, allowing economic activities there.
The Treasury Department’s decision on Thursday 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 the Aleppo governorate in the west to the 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.
Türkiye kills 21 YPG/PKK terrorists
The YPG, which is the Syrian branch of the PKK, remains in control of large swathes of Syria with US backing.
The PKK is a designated terrorist organisation in Türkiye and the US. But Washington has refrained from designating the YPG and continues to partner with it in the region against the Daesh terror group despite strong protests from Ankara.
In its about 40-year terror campaign in the region, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
Also on Thursday, Turkish armed forces in retaliatory fire killed 21 YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria, Türkiye’s Defence Ministry said.
After a “treacherous attack” by terrorists on Karkamis district and Koprubati Border Post in Türkiye’s southeastern Gaziantep province that killed one Turkish soldier, at least 21 terrorists were neutralised in “self-defence” strikes in the Ayn al Arab district of northern Syria, it said in a statement.
Earlier, the ministry said four Turkish soldiers and one civilian were wounded in the terror group’s attacks in the district.
Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria – Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019) – to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents.