WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the reported chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime in Syria:

“I am again horrified by reports that Assad used chemical weapons against the Syrian people. How many times must this happen before the international community stands up to this criminal violence?

“One year ago, the Assad regime tested international resolve when it used chemical weapons against its own people at Khan Sheikoun. The United States responded with strikes against the infrastructure that allowed those attacks to take place. Many members of Congress supported these limited strikes at the time but demanded a strategy that would address the long-term threat that Assad’s chemical weapons pose to the Syrian people and the region. But those strikes were the beginning and the end of the Trump Administration’s approach. Regime jets were able to fly deadly missions within hours.

“Since then, the number of deadly attacks against Syrian civilians has mounted, including chemical attacks, and the White House has been silent on how the United States will address the threat that the regime poses. In fact, the Administration’s policies—and the President’s off-the-cuff, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants pronouncements—have made the situation worse. The regime and its allies in Tehran and Moscow have taken more territory by besiegement, starvation, forced evacuation, and aerial bombardment. Iran has now built a long-term strategic presence on the border with Jordan and Israel. The administration has neither won against ISIS in Syria nor has it prevented Iranian entrenchment.  The policy in Syria has failed.

“This Administration must pressure the regime and its enablers to end the violence in Syria, and Congress must pass the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act. I look forward to seeing a long overdue strategy on how the Trump Administration intends to turn the tide and help to end this crisis.”

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