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OFAC has Released a Compliance Communique Offering Guidance to Earthquake Relief Efforts in Syria

On February 6, 2023 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Syria. Nine hours later a second 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck again. Aftershocks of varying magnitude continued until February 12th. Syria has reported nearly 7,000 deaths and over 14,000 injured individuals.

The Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) has released the Compliance Communique, Guidance on Authorized Transactions Related to Earthquake Relief Efforts Syria. The guidance document serves as a broad FAQ about multiple aspects regarding navigating sanctions while trying to send earthquake relief efforts to Syria. The document offers guidance on nine broad topics regarding relief and sanctions compliance:

  • Donating Money and Raising Funds for Earthquake Relief Efforts in Syria

  • Sending Money to the People of Syria

  • Sending Goods to Syria

  • Providing Services to Syria

  • Processing Earthquake Relief Financial Transactions

  • Activity Involving the Government of Syria

  • NGOs Providing Humanitarian Aid to Syria

  • Activity by Foreign Governments in Syria

  • Caesar Syria Civil Protection Act of 2019

In summary, the document claims that most earthquake relief efforts are permissible without the threat of U.S. sanctions. There are nuances regarding what is OFAC specifically deems as earthquake relief efforts. The document has links to the specific regulations and definitions for each nuanced question falling under the above categories.

Are you unsure of how to interpret specific parts of the notice? Is your business looking to offer relief efforts to Syria? Do you provide services or products that may be useful to Syria as the country rebuilds? Have additional questions? Give our office a call today.

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