Syria Latest: Day-to-Day Life in War-Weary Damascus - Bloomberg
Instead of a frenzy of reconstruction and the promise of revival, Syrians have found themselves fighting another battle. Weary and traumatized from the violence, they’re focused on trying to survive in a decimated economy that shows no signs of imminent revival and with no peace dividend on the horizon.
Robert Ford, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria, said the Trump administration is much more aggressive than under Barack Obama, using more secondary penalties that target those doing business with sanctioned individuals or companies.
In November, the U.S. Treasury Department added a network of Russian and Iranian companies to its blacklist for shipping oil to Syria and warned of significant risks for those violating the sanctions.
“It is a conscious policy of the American government to try to strangle to death the Iranian government in Tehran and the Syrian government in Damascus,” said Ford, who’s now a fellow at the Middle East Institute. “They don’t want to fight a military war with the Syrian government, but they’re perfectly willing to fight an economic war.”
Ford likened the situation in Syria to the one in Cuba after the economy collapsed in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. Cuba had financial difficulties, “but the Castros are still there,” he said.