The following interview was conducted by The Syria Report with Jeanne Pryor, USAID’s Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Middle East Bureau whose portfolio includes USAID’s operations in Syria. The interview sheds light on USAID’s approach to early recovery projects in regime- and non-regime-held areas; its efforts to support the private sector in areas outside regime control; and the interagency mechanisms and vetting processes in place to ensure USAID funds are not awarded to sanctioned or regime-affiliated parties.
Over the past few months, the government has held several conferences for expatriates across Syria to encourage Syrians in the diaspora to invest in Syria. Expatriates voiced their demands to the government during the conferences, which saw the presence of Syria’s ministers of interior, foreign affairs, and tourism and representatives from industrial cities and the chambers of commerce and industry.
The UN Security Council adopted a resolution to extend the cross-border aid mechanism by six months, the length of time demanded by Russia. The mechanism, which has been in place since 2014, provides aid to over two million Syrians in opposition-held areas and is the only way humanitarian assistance can reach civilians without navigating areas controlled by government forces. 
Kiev has announced that it will cut political and economic ties with Damascus after the latter recognised Luhansk (also spelt Lugansk) and Donetsk, two Russian-backed breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine. Kiev’s decision, which includes a trade embargo, will further deteriorate relations between the two countries and impact Syria’s trade-related foreign currency inflows. 
Syria’s Katerji brothers have been blacklisted by six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – in the first such known act against prominent regime-affiliated businessmen by countries of the region.
The Ministry of Industry has decided to establish a Tartous Chamber of Industry, which would entail splitting the Tartous Chamber of Commerce and Industry into two. Tartous would become the fifth Syrian governorate to have separate chambers for commerce and industry.
Last week, security forces of the Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria seized nearly 2.5 million captagon pills in their largest drug bust to date. The bust came a few days after the security forces of the Syrian Salvation Government seized four million captagon pills in Idlib. Both shipments were smuggled from areas controlled by the Turkish-backed Syrian Interim Government.
The following is a Q&A with Matthew Zweig, former Senior Sanctions Advisor in the U.S. Office of the Special Representative for Syria Engagement, on American sanctions against Syria, particularly the Caesar Act; the potential sanctions waivers for opposition- and Kurdish-held areas in North and Northeast Syria; and how the U.S. sanctions regime may be impacted by the administration’s increased openness to early recovery projects.