Syria

Latest Developments

On January 29, 2014, in response to the adoption by the United Nations Security Council (“UNSC”), of Resolution 2118 (2013) prohibiting the procurement of chemical weapons from Syria and the recommendation of the Australia Group to control the export of certain chemical weapons precursors to Syria, Canada imposed further sanctions against Syria under the Special Economic Measures Act.

These measures prohibit the export of chemicals that can be used as precursors to chemical weapons agents and dual-use equipment that can be used in a chemical weapons programme. The import, purchase, acquisition, carriage or shipment of chemical weapons and equipment, goods or technology related to chemical weapons from Syria is also prohibited. In addition, the acquisition or purchase of technical data or technical assistance related to chemical weapons is prohibited.

Overview

On May 24, 2011, Canada announced that targeted sanctions would be imposed against members of the current Syrian regime under the Special Economic Measures Act. Protests for democratic reform had been ongoing in various cities across Syria since March 15, 2011. The Syrian Government’s violent crackdown on peaceful protesters led to many civilian deaths and injuries. Thousands of civilians were detained arbitrarily and there were credible reports of summary executions and torture. The actions of the Syrian Government led thousands of Syrians to flee to neighbouring countries, including Lebanon, resulting in a serious humanitarian crisis in the region. The violent crackdown in Syria and the cross-border incursions into neighbouring countries resulting in fatalities and the mass exodus of refugees caused a grave breach of international peace and security that is likely to result in a serious international crisis. The Special Economic Measures (Syria) Regulations thus came into force in order to respond to the gravity of the situation in Syria.

On August 13, 2011, Canada took measures to freeze the assets of additional individuals and entities associated with the Syrian government.

On October 4, 2011, Canada expanded its targeted sanctions by prohibiting imports of petroleum products from Syria and new investments in the Syrian oil industry.

On December 23, 2011, Canada expanded its targeted sanctions by prohibiting all imports from Syria, except for food for human consumption, as well as all new investment in Syria and the export to Syria of telecommunications monitoring equipment.

On January 25, 2012, Canada had expanded its targeted sanctions by imposing an assets freeze and dealings prohibition on additional individuals and entities associated with the Assad regime.

On March 5, 2012, Canada expanded its sanctions by broadening the prohibition on financial services, previously limited to the petroleum trade and related investments, to include the provision and acquisition of all financial or other related services to or from Syria. The new measures also imposed an assets freeze and dealings prohibition on seven additional individuals associated with the Assad regime as well as the Central Bank of Syria.

On March 30, 2012, Canada expanded its sanctions by imposing an assets freeze and dealings prohibition on additional individuals and entities associated with the Assad regime.

On May 17, 2012, Canada expanded its sanctions by prohibiting the export, sale, supply or shipping of luxury goods to Syria. The new measures also imposed an assets freeze and dealings prohibition on three additional individuals and three entities associated with the Assad regime.

On July 6, 2012, Canada expanded its targeted sanctions by prohibiting the export, sale, supply or shipping to Syria of a number of goods that can be used for internal repression as well as in the production of chemical and biological weapons. The new measures also imposed an assets freeze and dealings prohibition on two additional entities associated with the Assad regime.

On August 31, 2012, Canada froze the assets of additional individuals and entities associated with the Syrian government.

On November 28, 2012, Canada froze the assets of additional individuals and entities associated with the Syrian government.

Sanctions

In addition to the restrictions on dealings with designated persons, the Regulations prohibit:

  • The import of goods, excluding food for human consumption, from Syria;
  • The provision or acquisition of financial services to, from or for the for the benefit of or on the direction or order of Syria or any person in Syria;
  • New investments in Syria;
  • The export to Syria of goods, including technical data, used for monitoring telecommunications;
  • The export of luxury goods to Syria;
  • The exports of goods listed in Schedule 2 of the Regulations, including any technical data related to such goods.

Causing, assisting or promoting prohibited activities is likewise prohibited. Some exceptions exist, including the following:

  • Payments made by or on behalf of designated persons pursuant to contracts entered into prior to the coming into force of that person’s designation;
  • Humanitarian efforts and goods, such as food and medical supplies or equipment, and assistance and activities related to stabilization, democratization, development and reconstruction, if sent through one of the specified categories of organizations;
  • Personal or settlers’ effects shipped by an individual leaving Syria and used by the individual or his or her immediate family;
  • Personal correspondence up to 250 g per item;
  • Pension payments to any person in Canada, any Canadian abroad or any person in Syria;
  • Transactions necessary for a Canadian to transfer any existing accounts, funds or investments of Canadians held with a designated person to a non-designated person; and
  • Non-commercial remittances of $ 40,000 or less.

A separate Special Economic Measures (Syria) Permit Authorization Order made pursuant to subsection 4(4) of the Special Economic Measures Act authorizes the Minister of Foreign Affairs to issue to any person in Canada and any Canadian outside Canada a permit to carry out a specified activity or transaction, or any class of activity or transaction, that is otherwise restricted or prohibited pursuant to the Regulations, except for the import of chemical weapons and any related technical assistance.

Selected Documents

Regulations and Orders made under the Special Economic Measures Act:

Announcements related to the Regulations made under the Special Economic Measures Act:

Links

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions relating to this page, please email sanctions@international.gc.ca.