Amid reports of ongoing atrocities committed by the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) led a congressional call on Monday for President Obama to take stronger action.
Kinzinger urged the president to act decisively in Syria in a letter signed by U.S. Reps. Todd Young (R-IN), Bob Dold (R-IL), Joe Heck (R-NV), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Will Hurd (R-TX).
“We owe it to the innocent people of Syria to bring justice against the Assad regime, Russian military and their allies and help the struggling people of Syria,” Kinzinger said.
Barrages from Syrian, Iranian and Russian artillery in places like Aleppo have occurred almost daily since the civil war erupted in 2011.
“With the ceasefire now in shambles, it is imperative that the United States demonstrate strong leadership by using coercive economic action against the Assad and Putin regimes,” the letter states. “With nearly 500,000 Syrians dead — more than 50,000 being children — it is time that these brutal strongmen realize there are consequences for their indiscriminate killings of innocent civilians.”
The lawmakers wrote they were concerned that the administration had worked to delay consideration of the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, H.R. 5732, in Congress this year. The bipartisan measure would bring attention to atrocities committed by the Assad regime and establish a policy that the United States use all available resources to stop the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Specifically, the legislation would prohibit arms transfers and related materials to Syria and strengthens sanctions against Syrian officials who have engaged in crimes against humanity.
Although Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has reported on the administration’s strategy to deploy economic sanctions against Russia, the lawmakers raised concerns that those penalties against Russia and Assad’s allies were not sufficient given their support of the regime’s crimes against humanity.
“We believe increased coercive economic measures against Assad and Putin could not only have an impact to alleviate the suffering on the ground, but would be vital to our national security interests in mitigating the violence in Syria,” the lawmakers wrote.
“Rather than negotiating with our enemies that have no interest in ending the conflict, it is time that the United States employ strong and decisive action to show Assad and Putin the costs for their continued violations of global order.”
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