Bipartisan Legislation Approved by a Vote of 15 to 3
Bill Provides for Lethal Aid and Training to Vetted Syrian Opposition, Sanctions Weapon Sales and Petroleum Sales to the Assad Regime, While Delivering Humanitarian Assistance and Planning for a Post-Assad Syria
WASHINGTON, DC – The Syria Transition Support Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-TN) passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The legislation plans for a post-Assad Syria by offering humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, limited lethal and non-lethal assistance and training to vetted Syrian groups.
“The situation in Syria is critical for Syrians, for the region, and for the U.S. effort to counter extremism. More than 80,000 Syrians have died in the last two years, the number of refugees now tops 1.5 million; the conflict is spilling over into Lebanon and Iraq; and extremists groups with links to al-Qaeda are exploiting the conflict and gaining ground in a state with large chemical weapon stockpiles. The time to act and turn the tide against Assad is now. This legislation will provide critical support to the Syrian opposition through provision of military assistance, training, and additional humanitarian support.”
"Given the risks to the U.S. and the region from an extremist takeover in Syria, I thank my colleagues for advancing our bill that seeks a better outcome by establishing a more focused U.S. strategy without new spending or authorizing American military force. This effort has always been about more than the arming and training of vetted opposition groups; it is about shifting the momentum on the ground toward moderate forces while helping them build consensus for a new government post Assad,” said Corker. “In order for the necessary political transition to take place, moderate forces must gain the upper hand, and Assad must doubt his chances of survival. This bill moves that effort down the road in a serious, measured way, so I hope it is something my congressional colleagues and the president will embrace. ”
The Menendez-Corker legislation includes six key elements.