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OFAC issues new Syria sanctions FAQs

Financial Crimes OFAC Department of Treasury Sanctions OFAC Designations Of Interest to Non-US Persons Syria

Financial Crimes

On April 5, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published two new Syria Frequently Asked Questions, FAQs 884 and 885. FAQ 884 relates to non-U.S. persons’, including nongovernmental organizations’ (NGOs) and foreign financial institutions’ exposure to U.S. secondary sanctions pursuant to the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 (Caesar Act) for activities that would be authorized under the Syrian Sanctions Regulations (SySR), while FAQ 885 governs whether U.S. and non-U.S. persons (including NGO and foreign financial institutions) may facilitate certain humanitarian assistance to Syria without the risk of sanctions. OFAC clarified, among other things, that “non-U.S. persons, including NGOs and foreign financial institutions, would not risk exposure to sanctions under the Caesar Act for engaging in activity, or facilitating transactions and payments for such activity, that is authorized for U.S. persons under a general license (GL) issued pursuant to the SySR.” With respect to certain humanitarian assistance, OFAC explained that “[t]he export of U.S.-origin food and most medicines to Syria is not prohibited and does not require a Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) or OFAC license, and therefore non-U.S. persons would not risk exposure to sanctions under the [Caesar Act] for engaging in such activity.”

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