Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) today introduced legislation to increase humanitarian aid to victims of the Syrian revolution.
The Syria Democratic Transition Act of 2013 would increase U.S. assistance to victims of the Syrian conflict inside and outside the country, authorize seed funding for a Syrian Reconstruction Fund, and would launch a public awareness campaign to tout the U.S. assistance.
“The conflict in Syria has entered its third year. The United States Senate should stand with the people of Syria during this critical period– the fall of Assad is not only good for Syria, but will deal a significant blow to Iran and Hezbollah,” said Casey. “This bill includes a combination of humanitarian assistance, non-lethal equipment and training for the armed opposition, and sanctions against elements of the regime. The killing and destruction has gone on too long and we need to renew our efforts to support the Syrian people and opposition.”
The bill would also provide non-lethal equipment to vetted elements of the armed opposition, require a briefing on all known weapons stockpiles in Syria and encourages the U.S. to develop a plan to identify and secure all weapons stockpiles, and would expand sanctions against the Central Bank of Syria and designated individuals.
“In Syria, we have a terrible humanitarian crisis that is strengthening Iran’s influence and giving Islamist terrorists a chance to seize power after Assad is gone,” Rubio said. “This legislation is a way forward in Syria that is in line with our interests because it authorizes non-lethal direct assistance to democratically-oriented groups, encourages creative ways for U.S. aid to be more apparent to the Syrian people, and urges the president to pursue additional, crippling sanctions to isolate the Assad regime and those supporting him.”