This week, the House will vote on bipartisan legislation to sanction Bashar al-Assad’s foreign backers and support prosecution of war criminals in Syria. 

The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act (H.R.1677), which the Obama administration wrongly stalled last year, will help cut off resources to Assad’s war machine and give the U.S. critical leverage to help stop a brutal conflict that has taken nearly 500,000 lives and displaced millions. 

And sadly, as we learned today, this legislation is needed now more than ever:

  • “The slaughterhouse.”  “The Syrian regime has built a crematorium 45 minutes outside of Damascus where the U.S. government believes they are burning the bodies of the thousands of prisoners executed inside the walls of the Saydnaya military prison — an institution nicknamed ‘the slaughterhouse.’” (NBC News, 5/15/17)
  • “70 prisoners in a cell designed to hold five people.”  “Stuart Jones, the acting assistant secretary of near eastern affairs, told reporters Monday… that the regime will put up to 70 prisoners in a cell designed to hold five people before they are killed.” (Washington Examiner, 5/15/17)
  • “Russia, Jones said, ‘has either aided in or passively looked away as the regime has’ engaged in years of ‘mass murders’ and other atrocities, including extensive bombing of hospitals and other health-care sites and the use of chemical weapons on both civilians and rebel forces.” (Washington Post, 5/15/17)
  • “Non government organizations and human rights groups have long asserted that the Assad regime has abducted and detained between 65,000 and 117,000 people between 2011-2015 as that nation’s bloody civil war rages on.” (NBC News, 5/15/17)

“Syria can’t keep going on and on like this,” said Chairman Royce at a recent hearing.  “That’s not in our humanitarian interest, the interest of the region, or America’s national security interest.  This has to change.”

Learn more about Ranking Member Engel and Chairman Royce’s H.R. 1677 HERE.