Subjects – Syria Report



On October 11, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network levied the largest-ever penalty against a cryptocurrency exchange company for violating several sanctions programmes, including that of Syria. The action raises concerns about the growing use of virtual currency among sanctioned groups and individuals who seek to bypass sanctions and finance illegal operations, especially in Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham territories, where two cryptocurrency companies exist. 
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.
In an effort to ease the fallout of sanctions in non-government territories and stabilise areas liberated from the Islamic State, the U.S. administration has issued a general licence authorising economic activities, including foreign investments, in non-regime held areas of Northwest and Northeast Syria.
The following is an interview conducted by The Syria Report with John Bell, the managing director of Gulfsands Petroleum, a London-based oil and gas company that is the operator and joint-owner of Block 26 in northeast Syria. Among other things, this interview sheds light on sanctions, the potential production and revenues of Block 26, and illegal production by SDF and its affiliated oil companies. It also reveals how early recovery has become an increasingly prevalent framework through which companies and organisations re-frame their activities in Syria in an effort to be exempted from sanctions.


This profile provides an overview of Yassar Ibrahim, a notorious war profiteer and the current economic advisor to Bashar Al-Assad.


Aman Damascus is a joint-venture between Aman Holding and Damascus Cham Holding.
Emma Tel is a retail distributor of telephone and IT products.