March 14, 2022

Risch: We Can, and Must, Do More for Syrians

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement ahead of tomorrow’s 11th anniversary of the Syrian conflict:

“Today marks 11 years since the start of the conflict in Syria. Since 2011, dictator Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia and Iran, has overseen a campaign of death and destruction so horrific in scale that the UN stopped counting deaths in 2014 when the number reached over 100,000 civilians. Despite this, we, the international community, have largely failed to hold anyone to account.

“What’s more, after 11 years of barrel bombs, chemical weapons attacks, and countless air strikes on civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, key U.S. partners now appear intent on bringing Assad back into the international fold. The Biden Administration must stop enabling them and use all tools at its disposal to ensure U.S. policy toward Syria is consistent with our values. There should be repercussions for any nation that wishes to rehabilitate Assad’s murderous regime.

“Unfortunately, events in Ukraine serve as a reminder of the consequences of failing to hold dictators and war criminals to account for their actions. Russia has learned from its experience in Syria and is now deploying the same weapons and tactics in Ukraine, including the potential use of chemical or biological weapons. We should learn from our mistakes in Syria to prevent a tragedy on a similar scale from unfolding in Ukraine. We can, and we must, do more.”

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