Americans for a Free Syria (AFS), which advocates for human rights and democracy in Syria, today applauded the U.S. Senate for passing the Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act (H.R. 31/S. 52) in an 86 to 8 vote. The legislation, which passed the House Wednesday as part of S. 1790, holds Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies accountable for his horrific war crimes and puts sanctions on perpetrators or financiers of the regime’s atrocities, including Iran and Russia.
“After three years, we applaud the Senate for prioritizing the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, passing the bill and sending it to the President who, since last year, has called for its passage,” said Erica Hanichak, Government Relations Director of Americans for a Free Syria. “The Caesar Act is a real triumph for Americans, many of whom have been personally affected by the conflict, and Syrians alike who demand accountability for war crimes committed by Assad and his commanders, Russian pilots and Russian and Iranian ground forces. This legislation will make it harder for Russia to bring Assad in from the cold, providing a key step toward the goal of a political transition and a renewed Syria.
“We had many allies in the Senate, Members and staff, who repeatedly pushed for this legislation over the years, including Chairman Jim Risch (R-ID), Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). We look forward to the President signing this bill into law and beginning its implementation. War criminals and human rights abusers in Syria are on notice.”
This year, the bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 20-2 and is supported by the White House. Among the Caesar Act’s provisions are sanctions on the Assad regime, its financiers and the regime’s construction and oil production sectors, to pressure the Assad regime to halt its attacks on civilians and engage in real negotiations for a political transition.
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