House Passes Caesar Act in NDAA to Hold Syrian Regime and Allies Accountable for Atrocities

Now Senate Must Vote YES on NDAA to Write Sanctions into Law

December 11, 2019

Washington, DC — Americans for a Free Syria (AFS), which advocates for human rights and democracy in Syria, today praised the U.S. House for passing the Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act (H.R. 31/S. 52) in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, 377 to 48. The legislation, included in S. 1790, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), holds Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies accountable for his horrific war crimes and puts sanctions on perpetrators or financiers of the regime’s atrocities, including Iran and Russia.

“My family and I have suffered personally at the hands of the Assad regime. I have waited my whole life for this: finally, President Assad and his cronies will be held accountable for their countless crimes against the Syrian people,” said Ismael Basha, President of Americans for a Free Syria. “The U.S. Congress has demonstrated real leadership in advancing the bipartisan Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act. This legislation provides the U.S. government the tools it needs to sanction war criminals and their funders, and provide real leverage in negotiations for a peaceful transition toward freedom and democracy in Syria.

“We cannot thank enough the Members and staff at every level of the House who championed this bill since Caesar’s photos shocked the American conscience in 2014, including Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member Mike McCaul (R-TX), Friends of a Free, Stable and Democratic Syria Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Brendan Boyle (D-PA), as well as its membership, and former Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), who worked closely with Chairman Engel to advance the bill through the House.

“For the fourth time, the U.S. House has said ‘Never again’ to the widespread and well-documented atrocities of the Assad regime. Now, the Senate must act—pass the NDAA, send it to the President’s desk for his signature and stand up for human rights in Syria.”

This year, the bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 20-2 and is supported by the White House. Among the Caesar Act’s provisions are sanctions on the Assad regime, its financiers and the regime’s construction and oil production sectors, to pressure the Assad regime to halt its attacks on civilians and engage in real negotiations for a political transition.

Americans for a Free Syria (AFS) is a non-partisan, non-profit that advocates for human rights, the rule of law and U.S. national security interests in Syria.