When we talk about Syria, where the Syrian people live a reality of human suffering and injustice, and have spent many years of conflict and destruction, the importance of justice and holding accountable criminals who have been involved in human rights violations and war crimes emerges as a basic principle in achieving peace and stability and advancing Syria towards a better future. 

Since the possibility of holding accountable these criminals involved in crimes against the Syrian people is considered impossible in Syria, in light of the presence of the Syrian regime, which controls the judicial institution with a security grip and uses it to hold the opponents accountable only, imposing effective international sanctions and restrictions on individuals and entities that have participated in human rights violations and committed war crimes is considered a very important step. 

The United Kingdom, United States, and Canada recently led international efforts to impose sanctions on a group of human rights violators around the world, including sanctions on eight members of the Syrian regime, accused of involvement in atrocities and crimes against humanity committed against the Syrian people, including government ministers and senior members of the armed forces. Participants in military field courts. 

The European Union also decided on January 22 to include six Syrian individuals and five companies linked to the Syrian regime, and more specifically to the “First Lady,” Asma Al-Assad, in the sanctions list, which is the first of its kind since April of last year, as this decision focused Sanctions on Asma Al-Assad’s business circle and on companies proven to be involved in human smuggling from Syria to Libya and from there to European Union countries. 

Asma Al-Assad and her father, Fawaz Al-Akhras, were subjected to US sanctions in 2020, as they led a campaign of economic monopolies that enabled them to tighten their grip on the economy through their control over many sectors such as real estate, banking, and telecommunications through fictitious companies or figures close to them that act as a front to manage their financial empire. The US government described it as “the most notorious profiteer from the Syrian war.” According to a report published by The Economist in March 2021. 

The “Syria Trust for Development” was exploited as a “humanitarian organization” to absorb international aid funds and achieve the personal wealth of Asma Al-Assad and those close to her, with the assistance of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Damascus between 2016 and 2018 amounted to five million seven hundred and eighty thousand dollars, according to Syrian Network for Human Rights, most of this funding goes to Asma Al-Assad. 

In addition to the humanitarian aspect, the “Syria Trust for Development” dominated economic investments in Old Aleppo and elsewhere, in addition to the development aspects, and even profit-making projects despite its definition as a “non-profit institution.” In addition to the “Syria Trust for Development”, Asma Al-Assad relied on businessmen close to her in exchange for economic privileges granted to them through its authority and security arms, which made them form something like a mafia around her, all to increase the wealth of the “First Lady” and her husband’s wealth, which a US State Department report estimated at about one to two billion US dollars. 

The recent European sanctions included Firas Al-Akhras, Asma’s brother, and Mohieddin Muhannad Dabbagh, her cousin, in addition to five companies. Cham Wings Airlines was one of these five companies, on charges of using its flights to participate in transporting Syrian mercenaries, arms trade, drug smuggling, and money laundering, which Supports the activities of the Syrian regime. As the only private airline in Syria, Cham Wings benefits from and provides support to the Syrian regime. In the past, Cham Wings has faced previous US designations for transporting weapons and equipment to the Syrian regime, accusations of transporting Russian mercenaries to Syria, and condemnation of its role in human trafficking. In 2022, Cham Wings was blacklisted by the European Union for trafficking migrants to Belarus, and the EU eventually delisted Cham Wings a few months later when the company ceased operations in Belarus. 

However, it is very surprising that “Sham Wings”, which was subject to recent European and previously American sanctions, and only three days after the sanctions were issued against it, will participate in the (Fitur 2024 international tourism) exhibition, which was launched in Madrid, and this confirms the success of the endeavors of the individuals and entities under these sanctions to evade and circumvent them, whether by using pseudonyms, changing the names of entities, or in other ways. This is what the Syrian Association for Citizen Dignity demonstrated when it highlighted the role that Cyprus plays in facilitating money smuggling operations for the benefit of the Syrian regime and other parties despite the strict sanctions imposed on it by Washington. 

Partial solutions to the Syrian crisis always reveal their weakness and insufficiency to get out of the painful reality. We must work to achieve a comprehensive, sustainable solution that will take Syria out of war and conflicts, achieve justice and accountability for criminals, and enhance the confidence of the displaced in the international community. Here we affirm that the only solution to the Syrian crisis and building a sustainable future for the country lies in finding a comprehensive political solution that contributes to achieving a safe environment in Syria, achieves the establishment of a system based on the values of justice and human rights, and allows the safe, voluntary and dignified return of displaced Syrians to their homes. This requires international cooperation and the commitment of the parties concerned to implement the decisions and obligations imposed on them.