WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement after the administration announced 39 designations under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act and Executive Order 13894 to begin a sustained campaign of increased economic and political pressure against the Assad regime.
“I welcome today’s action, which reflects a government-wide effort to ensure justice and accountability for the Syrian people. This sends a clear message to the international community that the United States will not tolerate efforts to normalize ties with Syria’s brutal dictator, Bashar Al-Assad, who continues to terrorize the Syrian People.
“Indeed, over the course of this nine-year long war, Assad has demonstrated he will do anything to cling to power. Assad, with the help of his Russian and Iranian backers, continues to commit egregious human rights abuses against Syrian civilians, deliberately targeting medical facilities, deploying chemical weapons, and using starvation as a weapon of war.
“Against the backdrop of this violence, more than 100,000 Syrians have perished in Assad’s prisons under inhumane conditions – brutalized, starved, and tortured. What started as one man’s heroic efforts to show the world Assad’s atrocities has led to a powerful tool to hold Assad and his criminal backers accountable.
“Over the past several years, I have worked closely with the administration and my colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees to ensure the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act serves as a tool for accountability.
“To those considering rehabilitating the Assad regime, this new law sends an unmistakable signal that the path forward for Syria cannot pass through a regime that continues to murder innocent civilians.”