The U.S. must increase pressure for a lasting, viable peace solution for Syria through the internationally-backed UN Geneva process.
The only way to reach peace in Syria is through a political solution that leads to a transition to a democratic country, a country governed by rule of law that ensures equal rights for all its citizens.
A free Syria is in the interests of the United States.
Instability in Syria will continue so long as Assad is in power. If Assad stays, the refugee crisis will continue and terrorist groups will further enjoy safe haven on the borders of Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Israel.
The United State has missed several chances to assert its role in the UN-led Syria peace process outlined by UN Security Council 2254 (2015). This process prioritizes political transition and encourages a new Syrian constitution that supports democracy, rule of law, and human rights.
By failing to empower the UN process, the United States has left room for Russia, Iran, and Turkey to create competing side processes in Astana and Sochi that have served to legitimize Iran as a guarantor of a future Syrian peace, thereby ensuring its long-term presence in the country.
While talks stall, the Assad regime and its allies continue to raze the country in pursuit of a military solution. Over 50 percent of Syria’s medical and educational infrastructure has been destroyed since 2011. UN Envoy Staffan de Mistura estimates that rebuilding Syria will cost at least $250 billion.
- Ask Congress to codify the current U.S. policy to deny any U.S. reconstruction assistance to the Syrian Government until it ceases civilian attacks, allows free and fair elections, and minimizes its reliance on foreign state sponsors, as in the No Assistance for Assad Act of 2017 (H.R. 4681).
- Develop a plan with U.S. allies that prioritizes political transition in Syria, such that Assad or anyone else is materially responsible for war crimes in Syria is barred from positions of power.
- Engage groups in the Syrian Opposition to ensure that their vision respects internationally recognized standards of human rights, rule of law, separation of religion and state, and inclusive, pluralistic governance.
- Ensure that abusers on all sides are held criminally accountable by funding not just the documentation but also the investigation and prosecution of war crimes. Support cases that are currently being built through national courts in Spain, Germany, and elsewhere as well as through the UN’s International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM).