Free Syria Act of 2013 Introduced by Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel, Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman
Engel: “President Assad’s days are numbered as the situation in Syria goes from bad to worse. No longer can we watch as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster unfolds before our very eyes.”
Washington, D.C. – The top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI), and U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) introduced the Free Syria Act (FSA) of 2013, the most comprehensive congressional bill on Syria, authorizing the President to provide appropriate assistance, including limited lethal equipment, to vetted Syrian opposition members, increase humanitarian assistance to affected Syrian populations, and begin planning for a post-Assad Syria to include lifting of Syrian sanctions.
“President Assad’s days are numbered as the situation in Syria goes from bad to worse. No longer can we watch as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster unfolds before our very eyes,” said Eliot Engel. “We are long past due to arm friendly rebels and turn the tide to allow for a more hopeful Syrian future. Ridding Syria of Assad will provide a strategic setback to Iran, which uses Syria as a pass-through to prop up their terrorist proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
“The United States has special capabilities that should be used to help facilitate and prepare for a post Assad transition,” said Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “As the Assad regime deteriorates and loses control, the chaos created will create a serious humanitarian crisis. This slow motion nightmare will quickly turn into a fast paced reality for thousands. The transition will undoubtedly be turbulent and painful, which is why we must prepare immediately for the post Assad transition.”
The legislation consists of 3 main titles.
The first addresses humanitarian and economic assistance to protect and support refugees and other populations affected by the conflict.
The second authorizes the President to provide vetted Syrian opposition members appropriate non-lethal and restricted lethal military assistance, and authorizes a program to facilitate Syrian chemical and biological weapons destruction.
The third provides assistance to support the Syrian transition and authorizes the President to undertake a responsible suspension of current Syrian sanctions if certain conditions are met.
A longtime congressional leader on Syria matters, Engel was the author of the Syria Accountability Act which became law in 2003.