At the end of January 2018, the Department of Homeland Security is set to make a decision on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syria, a program that allows 6,900 Syrians to live and work legally in the United States.
Ahead of this decision, the Coalition for a Democratic Syria (of which the Syrian American Council is a member), the American Relief Coalition for Syria, and Americans for a Free Syria have been joined by over 50 human rights, immigration, advocacy, and faith groups and organizations in a coalition letter to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State calling for the extension and redesignation of TPS for Syria.
The letter explains: "The brutal war crimes and crimes against humanity, widespread arrests and repression, and starvation and medical deteriorations that Syrians inside the country are subjected to on a regular basis make the return of TPS beneficiaries untenable and tantamount to a death sentence."
A full text of the letter is available here.
This coalition letter occurs on the heels of a number of initiatives taken on by the Syrian American organizations and their allies on TPS, including but not limited to the submission of a legal petition to the Department of Homeland Security, congressional advocacy on TPS, grassroots education and awareness, and community and legal support for TPS-holders.
On Friday, January 19, 2018, a second letter calling for the extension and redesignation of TPS will be submitted to the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department by humanitarian organizations with operations on the ground.
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(Washington, DC | December 27, 2017) The Syrian American Council (SAC) iterates its utter rejection of the upcoming Russian-organized Sochi Congress, intended to bypass the UN-based Geneva talks and to allow Assad to continue governing over Syria with absolute impunity.
In a position paper published today, SAC outlines Russia's intent behind Sochi as a means by which to cement Assad in the presidency, makes the case for why elections and a new constitution are insufficient to achieve transitional justice in Syria, and explains why Russia and Iran cannot be expected to serve as neutral arbiters.
"The Syrian people refuse to partake in a process that, at its core, is meant to deprive them of their voice and erase the demands first made by peaceful protesters in 2011, for the butcher of Syria to step down.” says Zaki Lababidi, Vice-President of SAC. "To take the issue of Assad's departure entirely off the negotiating table is one of the clearest indicators that the Sochi Congress-held on a hostile land belonging to a power that has empowered the Assad regime to continue its crimes-- does not constitute a fair and equitable political transition tool."
To read SAC's position paper on the Sochi Congress, please click here.
Sign the Petition!
We the undersigned, as Syrians and allies of Syrians, iterate our unequivocal rejection for the pressure being placed on the Syrian opposition to drop their demand that Assad leave power.
More than six years ago, Syrians peacefully took to the streets to demand freedom, social justice, and dignity. They were met with some of the most egregious war crimes and crimes against humanity of our time.
Today, international actors and diplomats are pressuring the Syrian opposition representatives to accept a war criminal who belongs in the Hague to continue ruling over a people who he has slaughtered, disappeared, tortured, bombarded, besieged, starved, and displaced.
The Syrian people and their allies refuse to entertain even the slightest possibility that their dreams for a future involve being governed by a war criminal.
Assad should not be a part of Syria's future!
American Forum on Syria Policy 2017
You’re invited to attend the first-ever annual American Forum on Syria Policy, a two-day conference to discuss, strategize, and prioritize Syrian American resources for a free and democratic Syria and meet policy makers.
Thursday & Friday, October 26-27 in Washington, DC
Congressional Reception: 9:30 am
Conference Start Time 12:00 pm
JW Marriott Washington, DC
1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW | Washington, DC 20004
More details about speakers for the Forum and Gala dinner program will be announced shortly. See full program attached.
Dr. Rim Albezem Dr. Lina Murad
Forum Co-Chair Forum Co-Chair
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 at 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 its similarities between the Holocaust and current day Syria.
Read Shlomo's full speech below.Read more
The Syrian American Council is gravely concerned over the plight of the up to 200,000 civilians still trapped in Raqqah City as U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces close in. While SAC wholeheartedly supports efforts to eradicate ISIS from Syria, we believe that more care should be taken by the Anti-ISIS Coalition to avoid civilian casualties, especially when using highly flammable or explosive weapons such as White Phosphorous. UN investigators have documented at least 300 civilian deaths in Raqqah due to Coalition airstrikes since March.
At Zaytoun Church is where I long to be today, in my beloved Damascus, Syria —
I love it not only because it was where my parents were married and where I was baptized but because of all the special moments that took place there. I recall the candles flickering outside the church on Palm Sunday. I remember everyone dressed in their holiday best, walking in a procession as worshipers carried an icon of Jesus and the cross. And most precious are Easter Sunday mornings when my parents gifted decorated eggs and holiday chocolates to our Muslim neighbors and their families. How I long for these days of family, friends, and worship in the town where I grew up.Read more
We are thankful everyday for having the opportunity to bring the voices of Syrian Americans to the forefront.
Now more than ever before those voices matter as the annihalation of our beloved Aleppo continues at the hands of Russian and Syrian regime forces.
Help us keep the news about Aleppo, and Syria at large, top of mind in the media, in congress, and with the American Public.