WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement condemning intensifying hostilities against civilians in Daraa, Syria:
“I strongly condemn the worsening crisis in Daraa threatening the lives of tens of thousands of innocent Syrians. Since late June, the Assad regime, with the help of Iranian-aligned militias, has laid a humanitarian siege on nearly 50,000 civilians in Daraa, depriving its own citizens of food, medicine, and freedom of movement, in a cynical attempt to secure political obeisance. This is not the first time the regime has used these atrocious tactics to starve people into submission. Over the past week, nominal Russian mediation attempts have failed and hostilities have escalated, resulting in numerous civilian casualties. I urge the international community to publicly condemn these acts of brutality, call for an immediate ceasefire, and reject any efforts to further forcibly displace the citizens of Syria from their homes.
“I further call on Secretary Blinken and Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield to make the situation in Daraa an immediate focus of U.S. engagement at the United Nations Security Council, including at this month’s Syria consultations, and consider additional sanctions on Syrian, Russian, and Iranian entities complicit in the hostilities. Russia cannot advocate for Syria’s sovereignty and stability and at the same time facilitate this aggression, which endangers not just the citizens of southern Syria, but also Jordan and Israel. The international community must speak out against the events in Daraa and take immediate action to secure de-escalation.”