U.S. House passes bill blocking normalization with Damascus

The United States House of Representatives passed on Wednesday a bill that blocks the U.S. from normalizing relations with the government of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

The Assad Regime Anti-Normalization Act passed the House in a 389-32 vote.
The bill, introduced in May 2023 after the Arab League reintegrated Syria into the bloc, extends the Caesar Act, which imposes sanctions on the “Assad regime” and includes individuals and entities that provide support to the Baath party and the Syrian People’s Assembly (Parliament).
“With this bill, Congress is sending a message that it remains committed to holding Assad and his backers accountable and ensuring justice for the Syrian people, in the face of creeping normalisation with this war criminal,” chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee Mike McCaul told The National ahead of the vote.
The bill imposes sanctions on “those that knowingly (1) are responsible for serious human rights abuses against the Syrian people, or (2) provide aircraft or spare aircraft parts for military purposes on behalf of the Syrian government to a foreign person operating in certain areas of Syria.”
Moreover, the bill expands the “types of activities that would subject a foreign person to sanctions, including knowingly (1) providing any type of aircraft or spare aircraft parts to the Syrian government, (2) diverting humanitarian assistance intended for the Syrian people, or (3) confiscating property in Syria or owned by a Syrian citizen for personal gain or political purposes.”
In addition, the bill requires the Department of State to provide Congress with annual report “to counter foreign government efforts to normalize relations with the Bashar al-Assad regime.”

News Code 159454

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