JOINT Brief nº 32

Challenges ahead for the EU in Syria – Aid, sanctions and normalisation

Fecha de publicación:
Özlem Tür, Professor of International Relations at Middle East Technical University, Ankara

JOINT Brief nº 32 (December 2023)

In May 2023, Arab leaders who had called for ousting Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad during the previous decade warmly welcomed him at the Arab League Summit and agreed to normalise diplomatic ties with Damascus. Syria’s return to the League strengthened Assad’s embattled rule while seriously weakening the opposition and those who still call for inclusive political reform.

The EU continues to impose sanctions on Syria and is adamant with its call for a political solution based on UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2254. This said, there is an ongoing and robust debate regarding whether the EU should reconsider its policy. This reconsideration spans various aspects, including the efficacy of sanctions, the EU’s role in reconstruction efforts, and the potential normalisation of relations.