On February 9, 2023, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued General license 23 pursuant to Syrian Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 542 (“SySR”), to authorize all humanitarian transactions related to earthquake relief for the people of Türkiye and Syria, after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern and central Türkiye and northern and western sections of Syria on February 6, 2023. GL 23 authorizes certain earthquake-related transactions until August 8, 2023, or for a period of 180 days.
According to OFAC, general license 23 reflects the US’s commitment to support the Syrian people during the ongoing earthquake crisis by ensuring that current Syria-related sanctions do not affect the provision of life-saving assistance needed at this time. The new general license expands upon existing humanitarian authorizations that permit most humanitarian activities provided by the United Nations, the US government, or nongovernmental organizations engaged in certain not-for-profit activities. The Department of the Treasury also promised to monitor the situation in Syria in an effort to understand any challenges that may arise regarding the delivery of earthquake-related services. Any persons with questions or concerns related to disaster relief efforts in Syria are encouraged to contact OFAC for a specific license or general guidance, as OFAC is currently prioritizing these requests.