Just as the Assad government appears to be gaining ground back from the rebels, the White House announced certain measures loosening the sanctions on Syria. Yesterday, BIS issued a notice on its website that it would begin processing licenses for exports of certain goods related to reconstruction of infrastructure in areas held by the rebels. Specifically, the agency indicated that license applications would be accepted for commodities, technology and software related to

water supply and sanitation, agricultural production and food processing, power generation, oil and gas production, construction and engineering, transportation, and educational infrastructure. . . .

BIS promised that implementing regulations “shortly” but indicated that applications could be filed “immediately.”

Similarly, OFAC released a Statement of Policy permitting the export of a somewhat narrower group of services. The Statement of Policy indicates that OFAC will consider on a case-by-case basis applications to permit services in the Syrian telecommunication industry to enable private persons to better access the Internet and in the agricultural sector. Certain petroleum transactions benefiting the rebel forces may also be authorized. Finally, OFAC revised Syria General License 11 and replaced it with General License 11A authorizing NGOs to engage in certain activities designed to preserve the cultural heritage of Syria including museums, historic buildings and archaeological sites.