A member of the Syrian Coalition called on the United States to pass the ‘Caesar Bill’ which was introduced to the US House of Representatives in 2016 as such step will help ensure civilian protection and lay the groundwork for the eventual prosecution of the Assad regime officials.
Head of the Syrian National Commission on the Affairs of Detainees and Missing Persons, Yasser Al-Farhan, stressed the importance of this act to hold the Assad regime officials accountable for the crimes they committed against the Syrian people, slam sanctions on the Assad regime’s supporters, and bring an end to the atrocities against the Syrian people.
Al-Farhan, who is also member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee, expressed his surprise at the delay of the adoption of this legalization although it had given the US president 90 days to propose a mechanism for the imposition of a no-fly zone in Syria. Al-Farhan raised questions about the side that has so for placed a “veto” on the act. “It is not clear who is blocking the bill,” he said, “Russia is blocking international resolutions on the UN Security Council, but who is blocking it inside the United States?”
The legalization, known as the Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act, was introduced to the US House of Representatives on November 16, 2016 and was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in September 2017. In early December, the White House expressed strong support for the draft bill, which is yet to be put to a floor vote.
Al-Farhan added: “The Syrian Coalition has always called on the US to deal seriously with the Assad regime to curb the regime and its backers’ actions. He noted that inaction by the United States has “brought woes to the Syrian people along with their support for the PYD militias.”
The Caesar bill notes that Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the deaths of well over 400,000 civilians, the destruction of more than 50 percent of Syria’s critical infrastructure, and the displacement of more than 14 million people in the world’s worst humanitarian disaster in 60 years.
The bill also encourages political negotiations to halt the crisis, urges the US president to impose new sanctions on any entity that finances or deals with the regime, its forces and intelligence agencies, including Iran and Russia.
The bill notes that “international actions to date have been insufficient in protecting vulnerable populations from being attacked by uniformed and irregular forces, including Hezbollah, associated with the Assad regime, on land and from the air, through the use of barrel bombs, chemical weapons, mass starvation campaigns, industrial-scale torture and execution of political dissidents, sniper attacks on pregnant women, and the deliberate targeting of medical facilities, schools, residential areas, and community gathering places, including markets.”
The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Bill is named after Caesar, the codename of Syrian military photographer who bravely defected from the regime and smuggled 53,275 photographs documenting brutal snapshots of Assad’s crimes. The photos, which were shown to the US Senate, sparked outrage in the Arab and Western media. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)