Confidential sources have informed Syria TV that members of the US Congress have agreed on making minor amendments to the anti-normalization law with the Syrian regime. The proposed changes will be put to a vote in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Confidential sources have disclosed that several proposed amendments have been made to the original draft law on combating normalization with Assad (No. HR3202) dated May 15th, 2023. The amendments includes.
- Modification of the requirement to add adult relatives to the list of sanctioned individuals, except in cases where it can be proven that the individual has formally disowned their sanctioned relative and has no history of assisting them in hiding their wealth.
- Approval of the addition of financial transactions with the “Syrian government” to the list of punishable acts under the Caesar Act, limited to commercial transactions exceeding five million dollars.
- Extension of the validity of the Caesar Act until the end of 2023.
- Expansion of the criteria for punishing the “Syria Trust for Development” associated with Asma al-Assad, the wife of the Syrian regime’s president. This expansion includes the requirement that the owners of the trust be subject to sanctions other than those specified under the Caesar Act, such as those related to presidential executive orders or as determined by the Treasury Department.
- Adjustment of the threshold amount required to contribute to the restoration of normalization with the Assad regime, which must be monitored and included in the anti-normalization reports by the State Department. The threshold will be increased from $50,000 to $500,000, individually or cumulatively per year.
- Inclusion of a definition of transactions that must be disclosed within the anti-normalization campaign strategy. This definition encompasses any investment, grant, contract, donation, or loan from non-Syrian individuals residing in Turkey or any Arab country, including UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, and Lebanon. The requirement applies as long as the beneficiary is located within the areas controlled by the Syrian regime.
The sources have clarified that this proposed formula closely resembles the original version, as it upholds the principle of secondary sanctions, which is a significant concern for affected countries. It also maintains the principle of non-recognition of any government or regime led by Bashar al-Assad, while also calling for detailed reports on the United Nations’ activities in Syria.
The bill explicitly prohibits the U.S. federal government from recognizing or normalizing relations with any government in Syria under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad, which is already subject to U.S. sanctions. Furthermore, the bill expands the scope of the Caesar Act.
Reuters, citing a senior member of Congress involved in drafting the bill, reports that it serves as a clear warning to Turkey and Arab countries regarding potential serious consequences if they engage with the Assad government. The recent readmission of the Syrian regime to the Arab League has provoked anger among members of Congress, highlighting the urgent need to send a strong signal by taking swift action.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.