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Syria crisis

US Senate resolution calls to hold Assad regime accountable for war crimes

Published: Updated:

A bipartisan resolution has been submitted by a group of high-ranking senators, calling for a permanent US policy to maintain humanitarian support for the Syrian people while holding the Assad regime accountable for war crimes.

The resolution comes ten years after the Syrian uprising in which thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to demand democratic reforms in a country ruled by the Assad family for decades.

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But Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia and Iran, successfully crushed the protests and killed thousands of civilians along the way.

Millions of Syrians have fled, and it is estimated that there are millions more internally displaced.

The US has remained adamant on a political solution based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which calls for free and fair elections and a political transition.

So far, Assad, Russia and Iran have not complied with international resolutions. As a result, the US imposed Caesar Act sanctions last year preventing the international community from dealing with the regime and choking off potential reconstruction funds.

The resolution put forth by Senators Bob Menendez and Jim Risch would ensure a US policy would be to support international humanitarian efforts to help civilians, “through support for displaced populations and the promotion of accountability for perpetrators of human rights abuses.”

This includes a commitment to “continuing efforts to hold the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian backers accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

While some countries, including the United Arab Emirates, have criticized the Caesar Act for “making it difficult” to re-engage with Syria, the resolution would support continuing implementing the sanctions regime.

The senators also called for the US to “reinvigorate diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict” while expanding humanitarian aid to the Syrian.

“For a decade, the world has borne witness to Assad’s brazen willingness to kill, torture, gas, and starve his own people in order to maintain his grip on power. The Syrian people have suffered for far too long at the hands of a butcher whose relentless reign of terror continues to be sponsored by his patrons in Tehran and Moscow,” Menendez said.

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