Appeal of Christian dignitaries from Syria: The sanctions against Syria and the Syrians must be lifted immediately

„Basta sanzioni alla Siria e ai Siriani“ is an appeal by high Christian dignitaries from Syria, including the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo. The appeal was published in May 2016.

Appeal of Christian dignitaries from Syria: The sanctions against Syria and the Syrians should be lifted immediately. German Translation here

In 2011, the European Union decided to impose economic sanctions against Syria. The EU presented them as „sanctions against personalities of the regime“. In fact, it imposed an oil embargo aginst Syria, a blockade of all financial transactions and a trading ban on many goods and products. These measures are still in force. In contrast, in 2012 the oil embargo of the regions was lifted due to a decision which was hard to understand, for regions which are controled by the armed and jihadist opposition. This should obviously make available economic resources to the so-called „revolutionary forces and the opposition‘.

In these 5 years, the sanctions against Syria have helped to destroy the Syrian society: the sanctions caused famine, epidemics and misery and work into the hands of the operating militias of integralists and terrorists who today even carry out attacks in Europe. The penalties by the embargo increase the damage caused by the war, which has already resulted in 250,000 deaths, 6 million refugees inside the country and 4 million syrian refugees who have left the country.

The situation in Syria is desperate: there is lack of food, there is general unemployment, medical treatments have become impossible, and drinking water and electricity are rationed. In addition, the embargo goes also against the Syrians, who have settled before the war abroad, and prevents them, to remit money to their relatives and family members in the home country. Even NGOs that want to carry out assistance programs can send no money to their employees in Syria. Companies, power plants, water plants, and hospitals are forced to close because they can not get spare parts and no gasoline.

Today the Syrians see only one possibility for the survival of their families: to escape from their country. But even this solution comes up against many difficulties and leads to heated arguments within the European Union. It is unacceptable that the only solution that the international community leaves the syrian people is to flee their own country.

We therefore support all initiatives of humanitarian character and all initiatives for peace by the international community, especially the difficult negotiations in Geneva. In the expectation and the hope that they will bring a tangible result after so many bitter disappointments, we demand that the sanctions that are felt in the daily life of every Syrian, will be lifted immediately. Without concrete efforts for the people who are now suffering from the consequences of the embargo, there can be no peace. The impact of the embargo rests on all of the yrian people.

The talk about war refugees from Syria appears to be pure hypocrisy, as long as at the same time, those who remain in Syria, are further starving, and are being denied medical care, drinking water, labor, safety and basic rights.

We therefore call on the legislators and mayors of each country, so that the citizens of the European Union are informed (until today they are kept absolutely ignorant) about the unfairness of sanctions against Syria. The sanctions finally need to be the subject of serious debate and appropriate decisions.



Georges Abou Khazen, Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo
Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land emeritus
Josef Tobji, Archbishop of the Maronites of Aleppo
Boutros Marayati, Armenian Bishop of Aleppo
The Sisters of the Congregation of St. Joseph of the appearance of the hospital „Saint Louis“ of Aleppo
Congregation of the Trappist in Syria
Dr. Nabil Antaki, physician in Aleppo of the Congregation of the Society Maria
The Sisters of the Congregation of Perpetual Help – center for minors and orphans of Marmarita
Father Firas Loufti, Franziscan
Jean – Clement Jean Bart, Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo
Jacques Behnan Hindo, Syrian-Catholic bishop of Hassake – Nisibi
Mtanios Haddad, Archimandrite of the Catholic – Melkite Church
Hilarion Capucci, emeritus. Archbishop of Melkite Greek Catholic church
Ignaz Youssef III Younan, Patriarch of Uniate Syrian Catholic. Church of Antioch
Georges Masri, Procurator to the Holy See of syrian-catholic church
Gregory III Laham, Patriarch of the Melkite Greek

Orginal: „Basta sanzioni alla Siria e ai Siriani“
Übersetzung aus dem Italienischen: Bernd Duschner