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Can Russia plug through US sanctions to reconstruct Syria?

Russia seeks to work around US sanctions to help reconstruct Syria, but some of Damascus' own policies may be unhelpful in this endeavor.
A general view of Hassan Ahmed al-Aoul's house between rubble and damaged buildings in Aleppo's Salaheddine district, Syria April 13, 2019. Picture taken April 13, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki - RC19CA5CE4B0

As the United States eyes new sanctions on Syria, Russia increasingly finds it needs to work out solutions that would nonetheless push forward the post-conflict reconstruction in the country the way Moscow envisions them.

Syria has been subject to legislatively mandated US penalties since the 1970s. In 1979, Syria ended up on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism that, among other things, placed a ban on exports of dual-use goods to Syria. Yet Washington preserved contacts with Damascus. When Bashar al-Assad, then a new reform-minded leader, came to power in the early 2000s, the idea of lifting the sanctions was considered on a number of occasions.

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