Trump signs Caesar Act sanctioning Syrian regime

US top diplomat hails passage 'an important step in promoting accountability' of Assad regime's atrocities

Servet Günerigök   | 21.12.2019
Trump signs Caesar Act sanctioning Syrian regime

Washington DC


U.S. President Donald Trump signed a Syria sanctions bill as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the 2020 defense budget.

The bill, Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act of 2019, authorizes additional sanctions and financial restrictions on institutions and individuals doing business with the Syrian regime.

The act is named after a Syrian military photographer who leaked tens of thousands of gruesome pictures of 11,000 victims who were systematically tortured to death by the Bashar al-Assad regime.

The photographs showed evidence of starvation, beating, strangulation and other forms of torture.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said called the passage of the Caesar Act "an important step in promoting accountability for the large-scale atrocities" carried out by Assad and his regime.

"Caesar has dedicated his life to seeking justice for those suffering under the Assad regime’s brutality. This new law brings us closer to doing just that," Pompeo said in a statement.

The act seeks to hold those responsible for the killings civilians, impose sanctions and travel sanctions on those who support the Assad regime as well as denying the regime financial resources used to fuel his campaign of violence.

"The Caesar Act sends a clear signal that no external actor should enter into business with or otherwise enrich such a regime," said Pompeo.

Trump signed the $738 billion NDAA at a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, which was attended by top state officials and military chiefs, including Vice President Mike Pence and Defense chief Mark Esper.

It cleared Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support; 86-8 in the Senate and 377-48 in the House of Representatives.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Hundreds of thousands of people have since been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN.

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