Senators call for Assad to be held accountable
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced a Senate resolution Wednesday condemning Bashar al-Assad and his regime for their continued use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people.
Multiple media outlets and independent human rights organizations reported evidence of the latest chemical weapons attack Tuesday, when scores of innocent people, including children, were killed or injured.
The resolution documents the years-long actions of Assad and his regime in carrying out war crimes against the Syrian people, reiterates that Assad has lost legitimacy as Syria’s leader, and states that he must be held accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“This unspeakable atrocity is the latest in a string of war crimes perpetrated against innocent Syrians over the last six years. Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal and while I am pleased to hear President Trump say today that his opinion of Assad has changed in light of this attack, what remains to be seen is whether there will be strong U.S. leadership and policy to hold Assad accountable,” said Senator Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Later this month we will commemorate Yom HaShoah. We say never again, but it’s time we meant it, and it starts with holding Assad accountable.”
“Assad is a war criminal who must answer for his heinous crimes against humanity, which are among the worst in modern history,” said Senator Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Our regrettable inaction in 2013 emboldened Assad and his Russian and Iranian enablers with disastrous consequences, and we now must support a process to ensure accountability.”
“History will judge how America responded to this crisis, and so far, our response has been insufficient—failing to create humanitarian safe zones, shutting the door on Syrian refugees, and now this White House is cozying up to Assad’s number one supporter and enabler: Vladimir Putin,” said Senator Durbin, the Democratic whip. “President Trump can no longer blame his predecessor—he must show leadership now to address these crimes against humanity.”
“Bashar al-Assad’s war crimes enabled by Russia’s Vladimir Putin must be a priority for our country, both for humanitarian reasons and America’s national security. A bloodthirsty dictator is clinging to power by gassing his own people, entire families, women and children. We cannot simply express outrage today and move on tomorrow,” said Senator Rubio, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on human rights. “Assad can never be the legitimate ruler of Syria, and if we accept anything less, we will have lost our moral compass as a people and as a nation.”
“As yesterday’s attack made painfully clear, the Assad regime continues to commit unconscionable acts of horror that amount to war crimes. The U.S. must lead the effort to forcefully condemn this violation of international law and basic human decency,” said Senator Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on human rights. “Additionally, Russia and Iran must bear responsibility for these appalling attacks and their efforts to prop up Assad’s tyranny. The international community must stand together and respond strongly to ensure that this attack is the last of its kind and that Assad is held accountable for his crimes against humanity.”
The text of the resolution can be found at this link.