Daily Israel Report

Syrian Experts Claim: Sanctions Are ‘Illegal’

Syrian law experts tell Syria news agency that the U.S. and EU measures against Syria are illegal according to international law.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/27/2011, 4:19 AM / Last Update: 5/27/2011, 1:01 PM

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Syrian legal experts asserted Wednesday that recent American and European measures against Syria are illegal according to international law are and unacceptable in terms of the relations among countries, the Syrian-based SANA News Agency reported.

“There is not any legal provision that allows a country to take such decisions against any other country, since no country has the right to custodianship over any other country,” Amal Yazeji, Head of the International Law Department at the Law Faculty in Damascus University, told SANA.

Yazeji added that measures taken by the U.S. and the EU constitute “an interference in Syria’s national affairs aimed at practicing political pressure on Syria to change its stances, which is totally unacceptable in terms of the relations among countries.”

Both the U.S. and the European Union have recently imposed sanctions on Syria due to the regime’s brutal crackdown on the protesters in the country.

The United States personally targeted President Bashar Assad with sanctions, freezing his assets as well as those of other named officials, and placing a general bar on U.S. individuals and companies from dealing with them.

The European Union listed 13 Syrian officials, including a brother and a power cousin of the Syrian ruler, and called for asset freezes and travel bans against members of the Syrian elite.

An EU official later noted that while Assad had originally been left off the list, the debate had hardened and it was only a matter of time before he was included in the sanctions as well.

Both Switzerland and Canada imposed their own sanctions on the Syrian regime this past week.

Fawaz Saleh, assistant professor at the Law Faculty in Damascus University, told SANA that the American and EU sanctions come in the line of political and media pressures targeting Syria’s national and pan-Arab stances, and added that “the U.S. and the EU are a main part of the problem in the Middle East region as they stand by Israel and provide support to those who target stability and security in the region.”

Meanwhile, SANA quoted Russian diplomats and officials who said that the sanctions on Syria target its pivotal role in the Middle East.

Vyacheslav Matuzov, who chairs Russia’s Society of Friendship and Business Cooperation with Arabic Countries, was quoted as saying the reason behind the growing pressures on Syria by the U.S. and the Western countries has to do with the independence of Syria’s foreign policy.

“If Syria agreed to respond to U.S. calls on abandoning relations with Iran stopping support to Arab resistance, it would be removed from the U.S. State Department’s black list, and that means that the Western and U.S. measures are not meant to achieve democracy, nor to support popular forces to move forward in any country,” SANA quoted Matuzov as saying in a televised program.

Another Russian official made similar comments to the news agency.

“It is obvious that U.S. and EU target Syria for its pivotal role in the Middle East,” Advisor of International Relations in the Russian State Duma, Rajab Safarov, said. “Syria is a real power which influences the situation in the region as a whole.”