Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act Passes US House and Senate
The bipartisan bill, which imposes sanctions on Bashar al-Assad and allies, must be signed by the president
WASHINGTON D.C., December 17, 2019 – The United States Senate today passed the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act (S. 52), included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), after being passed by the House of Representatives (H.R. 31) on December 11. The bipartisan legislation would hold Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies accountable for war crimes against civilians in Syria. The Syrian American Council extends its gratitude to the members of U.S. Congress for moving this long-awaited bill forward and urges President Trump to quickly sign the bill into law.
“The Caesar bill not only identifies and sanctions all who have aided in Assad’s genocide; it sanctions the Assad regime directly and delivers an economic punch that targets the energy patch, where Russian actors trying to rehabilitate the regime's oil production take the hit. Beyond that though, the Caesar bill imparts accountability for the mass atrocities committed by the Syrian government against the Syrian people,” said Dr. Zaki Lababidi, president of the Syrian American Council. “After three and a half years of advocating for this legislation, we are hopeful we will see justice ultimately served for the Syrian people.”
The Syrian American Council, alongside other organizations, has advocated for this legislation since 2016. If signed by the president, the bill will:
- Sanction all persons and businesses that fund Assad’s war machine, including Syria’s Central Bank, oil companies, construction companies and mercenary forces;
- Sanction war criminals in Syria, including Armed Forces commanders, the Council of Ministers and employees at the Scientific Research and Studies Center, which makes chemical weapons;
- Provide Congress with military and non-military solutions for civilian protection, including those under bombardment, trapped at borders or displaced;
- Ensure the president can only lift sanctions when the Syrian government takes concrete steps toward human rights goals by ending air strikes, releasing detainees, and allowing the safe and voluntary return of Syrian refugees.
“We owe a deep debt of appreciation to Syrian American organizations who have worked together, relentlessly fighting to pass this legislation, as well as the greater Syrian-American community and allies, who have never ceased demanding justice for the Syrian people,” added Lababidi.
The Syrian Civilian Protection Act, with deep bipartisan support, is critical to providing the United States the opportunity of producing a diplomatic solution in Syria. The bill is anticipated to reach the president’s desk later this week.
Michelle R. Taylor