As the conflict in Syria has intensified, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has been criticized by the international community for using chemical weapons against Syrian rebel groups. In an effort to pressure Assad to participate in United Nations-led diplomacy talks, the US has enacted strict economic sanctions on Syria. This is in hopes to economically devastate the government until it is forced to meet the demands of the UN and cease violation of its citizens' human rights.  However, especially in light of the recent emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic sanctions contribute further to human rights violations instead of halting them as intended. When countries are under harsh sanctions, the economic issues caused often fall on the most vulnerable populations. Those with difficulty meeting their basic needs such as food and clean water have their problems exacerbated by the regulation. In Syria, the thousands living in poverty already have difficulty achieving basic rights, and the pandemic has made this issue all the more difficult. Economic sanctions only cause further human rights issues and disproportionately affect those living in poverty; the solution to the Syrian crisis must start with the lifting of sanctions.
The Assad regime has not been affected by peace talks, diplomacy, rebel military backing by the CIA, or airstrikes. Despite efforts from the international community, they have continued the use of chemical weapons on the Syrian people. Economic sanctions are an effective way of forcing negotiation without violence and helping to pressure the government to cooperate without increasing unrest in the region. When human rights violations are at stake, every possible method that could help must be pursued. It is time to find a new solution to the crisis in Syria because the current economic sanctions are not effective.
[P1] Much of Syria's population cannot have their basic rights fulfilled. [P2] Economic sanctions primarily effect those living in poverty. [P3] The coronavirus pandemic has furthered the human rights issues in Syria. [P4] Lifting economic sanctions will help solve the rights problems in Syria and the pandemic related issues.