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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Washington - Rana Abtar

US House of Representatives Slams Assad for Exploiting Earthquake Disaster

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy at the Capitol (Reuters)

The US House of Representatives approved a draft resolution condemning the efforts of the Assad regime in Syria to "cynically exploit the disaster to evade international pressure and accountability, including by preventing the UN "from providing assistance through multiple border crossings between Türkiye and Syria."

The measure was approved in a bipartisan 412 with only two "no" votes.

It called on President Joe Biden administration to "continue to use all diplomatic tools, including through the UN Security Council, to open all Türkiye-Syria border crossings for assistance," underscoring the need for "international assistance to reach northwest Syria" to assist with disaster relief.

It also urged an increased oversight mechanism to ensure that US-funded assistance was not diverted for the benefit of the Assad regime, suggesting the "Biden administration to remain committed to the protection of the Syrian people including by implementing the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019."

The resolution's sponsor, Representative Joe Wilson, reiterated its importance, noting that the Assad regime continued to bomb the earthquake-hit areas and soldiers were stealing the humanitarian aid.

Wilson also called for the UN not to politicize humanitarian assistance bound for Syria and to circumvent the obstructions of Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Rep. noted that the resolution urged Biden to use all diplomatic means to push the UN to get aid to those in need, adding that Assad continues to blame US sanctions for the delay in providing support.

"I am deeply saddened that the Biden administration has weakened sanctions on the Assad regime by permitting direct transactions with that regime. This will do nothing to help with earthquake relief and will only endanger Syrian civilians."

He vowed to continue pushing for the implementation of the Caesar Act, adding that as long as the "brutal Assad regime remains in power," there is no solution for the problems in Syria.

Wilson concluded, addressing Assad directly: "You are not fooling anyone with your lies about sanctions. The US Congress stands united. We will never normalize with you."

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