Washington DC - The Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS), a coalition representing the Syrian American community, applauds Rep. Gerry Connolly's office for canceling the House of Representatives venue for an event hosted by the Middle East Policy Council. The event featured Siwar al Assad, the cousin of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and the son of ex-Syrian Vice President Rifaat al Assad. The event titled "One Year Later: Assessing the Coalition Campaign Against ISIS" included Assad, a novelist and media executive, to comment on the progress of the anti-ISIS fight. Through pressure from the Syrian-American community, the media, and Congressional offices, the event was forced into an online-only discussion.
"Siwar al Assad has no experience in assessing or implementing counterterrorism efforts," said CDS Government Relations Chair Muna Jondy. "He is a vocal supporter of the Assad family's strategy to suppress the opposition and kill civilians, a strategy that all U.S. policy-makers agree will strengthen ISIS."
"The Middle East Policy Council should be ashamed of their choice to include Siwar on the panel," said Mouaz Moustafa, Policy Advisor to CDS. "We are thankful that the Assad family will not have a public platform in the U.S. House of Representatives."
Siwar's father presided over the infamous Hama massacre in 1982, where he led the slaughter of over 30,000 people. His cousin Bashar has killed over 179,000 civilians according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. The Kurdistan Regional Government has also revoked their participation in the event.