July 2017 Newsletter

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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS:

  • On July 25 Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill imposing sanctions on Russia and Iran. SAC along with other organizations urged community members from the Syrian American, Ukrainian American, Baltic American, Bosnian American, Iranian American and other communities to call and email their representatives to support the bill. This legislation will sanction Russian officials and entities for supporting the Assad regime; place terrorism sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which are on the ground in Syria; and subject the lifting of existing sanctions on Russia to Congressional review… Read more about the bill here.
  • The Syria Caucus welcomes to the fold two members of Congress in July! Representatives Keith Ellison, D-MN, and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-PA, have joined. The Caucus now has 20 members in total.
  • If your representative is not a member of the Syria Caucus, please reach out to their office and ask that they become a member! Click here to read more and take action!
  • More information on the Syria Caucus:
    • The first of its kind ever in Congress, the Syria Caucus will serve as a platform where lawmakers and their staff educate themselves on matters involving US-Syria relations and discuss issues that concern Syrian Americans. We look forward to this bipartisan institution to support and advocate for legislative measures and policy options needed to end the bloodshed in Syria.

PUBLIC RELATIONS:

Op-Eds

Press Releases

  • SAC calls for an urgent investigation by Lebanese authorities into the torture and killing of 7 Syrian refugees following raids on refugee camps in Lebanon’s Arsal district… Read more here.
  • SAC, calls upon President Trump to ensure a transition in Syria that removes dictator Bashar al-Assad from power, after a series of contradictory remarks by Secretary of State Tillerson on the matter… Read more here.
  • On July 19, SAC’s Arizona Chapter President, Steve Arkawi, sends Senator McCain well wishes on behalf of SAC… Read more here.
  • SAC received with dismay the news that President Trump has ended CIA support to moderate, vetted anti-Assad rebels… Read more here.
  • SAC applauds Congress for passing strong bipartisan sanctions legislation on Russia and Iran, the two largest backers of the brutal Assad regime, with a veto-proof majority… Read more here.

Action Alerts

  • Investigate deaths of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon… Read more and take action here.
  • Tell the House to Sanction Russia and Iran… Read more and take action here.

Panel Discussions

  • On July 12, Shlomo Bolts, SAC’S policy and advocacy officer, served on the panel of the Srebrenica Genocide: 22 Years Later, hosted by the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Held on Capitol Hill, Shlomo shared the panel with two Srebrenica genocide survivors, Vahidin Zagorica and Elvir Klempic. Shlomo gave powerful remarks on the Srebrenica genocide and drew parallels between the Holocaust and current day Syria.
  • Shlomo stated, “There needs to be accountability to Assad for his crimes and there needs to be real steps for Syrian civilian protection. Ultimately, it took substantial NATO intervention in Bosnia before the butcher Slobodon Milosevic finally stopped killing and went to the negotiating table. Given Assad’s history of mass killings, I have no doubt that serious military action will be needed against Assad in order for Syrians to have peace.”
  • Read Shlomo’s full speech here.

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GRASSROOTS:

  • Robotics Refugee Team- HOPE
    • The FIRST Global hosted the first international robot olympics for high school students in areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The competition took place in Washington, D.C. with 157 nations represented in July. A team representing refugees participated as team “Hope.” The director of the Multi Aid Programs, and leader of the Robotics Refugee Team, Dr. Fadi al-Halabi said, “[Hope, because] I hope that we can bring hope to the team and bring hope to all refugees around the world who were forced to leave their country.” Dr. Fadi was previously a neurosurgeon from Damascus, Syria and is now living in Bekaa, Lebanon running several mobile schools called “Hope Schools” that serve over 3,500 students in refugee camps. 

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    • The mentor of the robotics team is Osama Shadeh, a computer Engineer from Yabroud, Syria. Osama mentors students in hopes to develop more Syrian refugee engineers so that one day, they can rebuild Syria together.
    • The members of the robotics team include Mohamed Nabih Alkhatib (17), Ammar Kabour (16), and Maher Alesawe (16). The team of three named their robot “Robogee,” as the first robot-refugee. The boys are all Syrian refugees and fled Syria 3 year ago to live in Bekaa, Lebanon.
    • The team won 4 out of 6 matches. The students are ready to compete again in next year’s competition! SAC is proud of these young boys and we look forward to the team's future success! 

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CHAPTER UPDATES:

  • On July 21, SAC-LA chapter hosted Dr. Fadi Alhalabi to share his experience as an innovator, humanitarian, educator, and doctor. Previously a neurosurgeon in Damascus, Syria, Dr. Fadi was forced out of his country and moved to Bekaa, Lebanon three years ago. Saddened by the lack of education for Syrian refugees, Dr. Fadi established a mobile school which now serves over 3,500 students.
  • SAC-LA chapter also hosted their annual Eid Al-Fitr Revolution picnic, bringing together the community to share thoughts, ideas, and food during the holiday. Picnic guests enjoyed traditional Syrian foods and drinks like Turkish coffee and children enjoyed toys and games.

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GET INVOLVED:

  • If you are interested in joining overseas missions to work with Syrian refugees, reach out to us and let us know.  We are currently working on setting up two missions in the fall and next spring!
  • SAC is looking for hard-working graphic designers, communications, and PR interns. If you are interested in applying, please email us at info@sacouncil.com.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

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