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In February 2008, the Arab Republic of Syria announced that it would adopt legal measures against the United States.  According to news reports, the foreign minister stated that his country would file a lawsuit against the United States asking for financial compensation.  The minister said that the US is legally liable for the killing of Syrian nationals in Lebanon and claimed that the US government supplied the Israeli Air Force with weaponry used in the bombing of Lebanon in the 2006 war, which led to the killing of Syrian citizens living in Lebanon.  However, the minister did not specify when and how his country would sue the United States or the court of jurisdiction.[1]  It appears that there were no further legal developments following this statement.

An antiterrorism law that facilitates the freezing of the financial assets of foreigners, including foreign government officials, was passed in 2012.[2]  Article 11 of the 2012 Counterterrorism Law authorizes the Syrian public prosecutor to issue an order freezing the financial assets of any individuals suspected of funding, sponsoring, or promoting what the Law describes as “terrorist acts” in Syria.  Such freezing of financial assets is not limited to Syrian nationals, and foreign government officials are not exempt.  Article 11 states,

[t]he prosecutor, or whoever he authorizes, may decide to freeze the movable and immovable property of anyone who perpetrates a crime in connection with the financing of terrorist acts or any of the crimes stated in this Law, if there is enough evidence to secure the rights of the State and the people affected.[3]

Prepared by George Sadek
Senior Legal Analyst
June 2016


[1] Damascus Files a Lawsuit Against the United States as a Response to the Sanctions, albawaba (Feb., 15, 2008), http://www.albawaba.com/ar/أخبار/دمشق-تقاضي-الولايات-المتحدة-ردا-على-توسيع-العقوبات (in Arabic), archived athttps://perma.cc/2MAV-4A36.

[2] Law No. 19 of 2012, posted on the official website of the Syrian Bar Association, at http://www.syrianbar.org/ index.php?news=987 (in Arabic; translation by author), archived at https://perma.cc/ZL55-KE3X.

[3] Id.

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Last Updated: 09/21/2016