On 13th February, the US House of Representatives is set to deliberate on H.R. 3202 – the Assad Regime Anti-Normalization Act of 2023. Sponsored by Rep. Wilson from South Carolina and the Foreign Affairs Committee, this legislation aims to address the ongoing crisis in Syria and prevent normalization with the Assad regime.
The bill, introduced in early May 2023, is a bipartisan effort to combat the human rights abuses and suffering inflicted by the Assad regime. It contains three main sections aimed at preventing normalization with Bashar Al-Assad’s government, expanding and improving human rights sanctions, and examining the Assad regime’s manipulation of the UN.
The first section of the bill focuses on preventing normalization with Assad’s government. It establishes a policy opposing the recognition or normalization of relations with the Assad regime and prohibits federal officials or employees from taking actions that imply recognition of Assad’s government. Additionally, it restricts the availability of federal funds to any government led by Bashar Al-Assad.
The second section of the bill amends the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 to enhance sanctions against foreign individuals involved in activities in Syria. It also expands sanctions to include those diverting humanitarian assistance and property of the Syrian people for political reasons or personal gain. Furthermore, it includes provisions to impose sanctions on specific entities such as Syria Arab Airlines, Cham Wings, and foreign persons owned or controlled by them.
The third section of the bill requires a report from the Secretary of State on the Assad regime’s exploitation of the UN. This includes a description of conditions set by the regime for UN operations in Syria, identification of UN officials or employees with ties to the regime, assessment of restrictions imposed by the regime on UN aid delivery, and a strategy to reduce the regime’s influence on UN humanitarian aid operations in Syria.
The deliberation on this critical legislation represents the US’ commitment, instep with international efforts, to address the humanitarian crisis in Syria and hold the Assad regime accountable for its actions. The House will meet at noon for the morning hour and at 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m. (EST).