The United States remains committed to holding the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad accountable for its innumerable atrocities against the Syrian people, some of which rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity. That’s why the Departments of State and Treasury released 14 new designations under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act and other authorities on July 29.
The latest tranche of designations was named the Hama and Maarat Al-Numan sanctions in honor of the victims of two of the Assad regime’s most notorious atrocities. Nine years ago, Assad’s troops carried out a brutal siege of the city of Hama, killing scores of peaceful protesters in a shocking sign of what was to come. One year ago, the Assad regime and its allies bombed a busy marketplace in Maarat Al-Numan, killing 42 innocent Syrians during Ramadan right before families sat for Iftar.
The Assad regime’s military has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, detained and tortured peaceful protesters, and destroyed schools, hospitals, and markets without regard for human life.
U.S. authorities designated Zuhair Tawfiq al-Assad and the First Division of the Syrian Arab Army, in addition to Zuhair Tawfiq al-Assad’s adult son, Karam al-Assad, pursuant to E.O. 13894. The U.S. also designated Bashar al-Assad’s adult son Hafez al-Assad pursuant to E.O. 13894. The United States will continue to hold Bashar al-Assad and his regime accountable for their atrocities, while keeping the memory of their victims alive.
It is time for Assad’s needless, brutal war to end. A political solution under UN Security Council Resolution 2254 is the only credible path to peace for the Syrian people. The Caesar Act and other U.S. Syria sanctions authorities are not intended to harm the Syrian people and do not target humanitarian assistance or hinder stabilization activities in northeast Syria.
The United States will continue its humanitarian assistance even in areas under the Assad regime’s control. The United States has contributed more than $11.3 billion in humanitarian assistance since the start of the conflict and will continue to do so.
There must be accountability and justice for the victims of Hama, Maarat al-Numan, and of the Assad regime’s other war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Assad regime and those who support it have a simple choice: take irreversible steps toward a lasting political solution to end the Syrian conflict in a manner that respects the rights and dignity of the Syrian people or face new crippling sanctions.