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US Caesar Act aims to prevent Syria from regaining key regional role: Lebanon’s Berri

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri

Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has lambasted the so-called “Caesar Act” sanctions imposed by the US against Syria, stressing that the measures aim at pressuring the Arab country economically and preventing it from restoring its unity and key regional role.

Berri, who was chairing an emergency meeting of his party, the Amal Movement, warned on Thursday that the “Caesar Act” is an act that affects Syria’s neighboring countries, specifically Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

He also said that the US measure, among others, sought to control Lebanon’s immense wealth, which lies deep in the waters of the Mediterranean, Syria's official news agency SANA reported.

Lebanon is located along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean.

The much-condemned Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act came into effect on June 17, six months after it was signed into law by US President Donald Trump, targeting individuals and businesses anywhere in the world that operate either directly or indirectly in Syria's economy.

Washington has already released 39 targets for sanctions, including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the bans “the beginning of what will be a sustained campaign of economic and political pressure to deny the Assad regime revenue.”

The measures are meant to “prevent the Assad regime from securing a military victory” in the fight against foreign-backed terrorists, according to US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft.

Damascus has already lambasted the US sanctions as “a crime against humanity and a flagrant violation of the international law that targets the livelihood of the Syrians.”

Elsewhere in his remarks on Thursday, Berri pointed out that the principled stance of his party regarding the US act is the stance of a loyal ally to the Arab country, standing always by Lebanon and its resistance.

Iran and Russia, Syria’s close allies, have already condemned the latest round of American coercive economic measures against the Arab country, saying the sanctions violate international law and humanitarian principles.

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