Today, the State Department and Treasury Department continued the United States’ sanctions campaign against the Assad regime by releasing 14 new designations under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act and other authorities. This campaign began last month with the first round of Caesar Act designations.
We have named today’s tranche of designations the Hama and Maarat Al-Numan sanctions. These names are meant to memorialize the victims of two of the Assad regime’s most notorious atrocities, both of which occurred in this week in 2011 and 2019. Nine years ago, Bashar al-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.
The Assad regime’s military has become a symbol of brutality, repression, and corruption. They have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, detained and tortured peaceful protesters, and destroyed schools, hospitals, and markets without regard to human life. We are designating Zuhair Tawfiq al-Assad and the First Division of the Syrian Arab Army pursuant to E.O. 13894 Section 2(a)(i)(A), in addition to Zuhair Tawfiq al Assad’s adult son, Karam al-Assad, under Section 2(a)(ii). Among today’s actions, we are also designating Bashar al-Assad’s adult son Hafez al-Assad pursuant to E.O. 13894 Section 2(a)(ii). We 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. This, above all, is what our sanctions campaign is meant to bring about. A political solution under UNSCR 2254 is the only credible path to the peace the Syrian people deserve. The Caesar Act and other U.S. Syria sanctions are not intended to harm the Syrian people and do not target humanitarian assistance or hinder our stabilization activities in northeast Syria. We will continue our humanitarian assistance through our international and Syrian partners, 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 as called for by UNSCR 2254 or face new tranches of crippling sanctions.