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On Wednesday, European diplomats announced that they will ease sanctions against Syria so that European companies can begin to buy oil the rebel opposition forces.
When the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began back in 2011, the EU first placed a ban on all purchases of Syrian oil, and whilst they were reluctant to openly support the rebel cause, they did add more sanctions to restrict al-Assad’s revenues. Current sanctions include a ban on all Syrian oil imports to Europe, an arms embargo, and a ban on all investment in the Syrian energy sector.
Relaxing sanctions will allow Europe, Syria’s biggest customer before the start of the rebellion, to begin purchasing crude from the opposition, as well as invest in the oil country’s oil sector.
Related article: Syria: When is Enough, Enough? When the Oil becomes “Islamized!”
Whilst still unwilling to give direct aid to the opposition, this is the strongest support shown by the European Union to the rebel cause, and will provide much needed cash to continue the fight to bring down al-Assad’s regime.
The idea of supplying arms to the opposition in Syria has still been rejected, but the cash earned from oil exports should provide the financial means to buy weapons from other countries.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com