The Western sanctions affect everything from Syria’s electricity network to its luxury goods market. AFP / STRINGER
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As Syrian President Bashar Assad attempts to turn military success into postwar reconstruction, Western sanctions are a major obstacle that could scare off foreign firms.Sanctions are making it hard for foreign companies to work there.Although some have managed to do business in Syria, the wide scope of the sanctions and broad U.S. powers to enforce them mean companies risk inadvertent breaches.U.S. and EU sanctions include exceptions for humanitarian supplies, and for items needed by United Nations missions in Syria.That term includes both American citizens and companies, as well as U.S. permanent residents and under some sanctions programs – at present not including Syria – foreign subsidiaries of American firms.In April, U.S. authorities arrested a Bulgarian man working for the Bulgarian office of a U.S. company in a Syrian-related sanctions case for which three Americans were jailed in December. It can also blacklist foreign companies or people who help others to skirt sanctions – naming them as foreign sanctions evaders barred from most business with Americans.Despite the humanitarian exemptions, sanctions have hit Syrian healthcare, the World Health Organization's Syria representative Elizabeth Hoff said.
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