March 15, 2021

ICYMI: Ranking Member Risch: Assad’s Decade of Torture Against Syrians Must End

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, provided the following remarks during a virtual event today titled “10 Years of Mass Atrocities in Syria: A Decade of Civilian Suffering” hosted by the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

03-15-21 10th Anniversary of the Syrian Conflict

“Hello, I’m Senator Jim Risch, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“It is my honor to join you all today as we solemnly observe the 10th anniversary of the Syrian conflict. 

“Over the last decade, Bashar Al-Assad has inflicted enormous suffering on the Syrian people and proven that he will do anything to preserve his grip on power.

“With military assistance and political cover from Russia and Iran, Assad has prolonged a campaign of torture, starvation, chemical weapons use, and barrel bombings against civilians. We must not let these atrocities go unpunished.   

“The world was awakened to the ongoing horrors of the Syrian regime from the brave Caesar – a former military photographer who risked his life to expose the truth. Due to the unparalleled bravery of Caesar and other former Syrian detainees, the world is now aware of Assad’s campaign of terror.

“As we look forward, we must not only stop this ongoing violence, but we must also promote accountability for these crimes. As a part of this effort, Congress passed the Caesar Act, named of course after Caesar, to hold Assad and his backers responsible. Over the last year, the United States has sanctioned Assad, his family, his security forces, and organizations that fuel the regime’s ongoing war. 

“This important work must continue, and we remain committed to seeking accountability for the regime’s atrocities.

“To further support the Syrian people, the United States has provided more than $13 billion in assistance since the start of the conflict. The United States will also continue to push for a political solution through UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

“To Assad and his backers, we say “never again.” We will continue to hold accountable those responsible for the plight of the Syrian people, and they should know the United States is always watching.

“Thank you for inviting me to speak with you today. God bless you all.”

On March 9, Ranking Member Risch and Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) led nine of their SFRC colleagues in introducing a bipartisan resolution in observance of the 10th anniversary of the Syrian uprising.

To watch Ranking Member Risch’s remark on YouTube, click here.

To download the video file, click here.