Syrian American Community Welcomes Implementation of Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act as First Step to Accountability and Justice in Syria
WASHINGTON D.C., June 18, 2020 – Yesterday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury began its implementation of the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, designating nine entities and individuals with financial connections to the Assad regime for sanctions under the auspices of the Caesar Law. The U.S. Department of State and Department of the Treasury also took this opportunity to announce targeted sanctions against an additional 30 entities, including Bashar al-Assad and many members of his inner circle, under the authority of existing executive orders.
These measures represent an important milestone for the millions of Syrians who have lost their lives, homes, families, and country because of the brutal atrocities of the Assad regime and its allies. Syrian American Organizations collectively applaud this step, which is the result of years of tireless advocacy efforts by the Syrian American community.
The act seeks to minimize the impact on Syrian civilians by applying highly targeted sanctions against the Assad regime and its backers, the Caesar Act will do the following:
- Put real pressure on the Syrian, Russian, and Iranian governments to agree to a political transition in line with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254.
- Send the message that there are consequences for the systematic atrocities committed against civilians by Assad’s backers, Russia and Iran, who are engaged in malign activities around the globe.
- Help to neutralize the threats emanating from the Assad regime through its creation of a safe haven for terrorist groups, its use of chemical weapons against civilians, and the political instability that it continues to foster both inside Syria and throughout the region.
Under the Caesar Act, the Assad regime must meet a series of benchmarks before sanctions can be lifted, including:
- The suspension of airstrikes against civilians, hospitals, schools, and residential and community areas by both the regime and Russian forces.
- The release of political prisoners from regime prisons, and the inspection of detention centers by international human rights groups.
- The facilitation of the safe return of IDPs and refugees.
- Verifiable compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention.
- Taking steps to provide meaningful accountability for perpetrators of war crimes in Syria.
Today, all Syrians still living under Assad’s rule face suffering and hardship as a result of the corrupt atmosphere that the regime, Russia, Iran, and others have created. It is for their sake that the Syrian American community hopes the Caesar Act will hasten the transition to a more inclusive and democratic Syria, and begin the processes of reconciliation and rebuilding.
Syrian American organizations will continue to engage with lawmakers to ensure the full and timely implementation of the Caesar Act against any and all parties without any exception to any group, entity, or political parties found to be materially supporting the Assad regime.
Organizations signing on to this statement include:
Americans for a Free Syria
Free Syria PAC
Kayla’s List PAC
Syria Faith Initiative
Syrian American Council
Syrian Christians for Peace
Syrian Emergency Task Force
Syrian Forum USA
Syrian Institute for Progress
Michelle R. Taylor