SDF commander welcomes relaxation of sanctions on northeast Syria
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Commander-in-Chief Mazloum Abdi welcomed the relaxation of sanctions on northeast Syria.
"We appreciate the US General License for #AANES areas to rebuild infrastructure and support our economy, a step that will counter ISIS and give hope to all Syrians. We welcome all companies to invest here," Abdi tweeted on Friday evening.
We appreciate the US General License for #AANES areas to rebuild infrastructure and support our economy, a step that will counter ISIS and give hope to all Syrians. We welcome all companies to invest here.— Mazloum Abdî مظلوم عبدي (@MazloumAbdi) May 13, 2022
Earlier the US government said it would relax its sanctions on Syria to allow some foreign investment in the northeastern regions under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and parts of northwest Syria.
The US government hopes the economic activity will improve the lives of those living in the self-administered areas and promote political stability.
One well-informed diplomat told Reuters that the sanctions exemption would apply to agriculture and reconstruction work but not to oil.
Reuters noted that this is the first time the US has said that it will relax sanctions in northeast Syria to boost general economic activity. While Washington previously issued two sanctions exemptions, they were much narrower.
Turkey opposes the new relaxation of sanctions, with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu claiming it is a "selective and discriminatory move," Hurriyet Daily News reported on Friday.
"Here, we see an effort for legitimizing the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party), the YPG (Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units). This is a decision taken on certain grounds and without consulting with anyone," Çavuşoğlu said.
Turkey considers the YPG as the Syrian branch of the PKK, a group that has fought a decades-long insurgency against Turkey for Kurdish rights.
The YPG and its Arab allies in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have proven to be the most effective local partners for the US-led coalition against ISIS in Syria.