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US lawmakers unveil bill targeting normalization of Syria’s Assad

The legislation would expand the list of sanctionable targets under the Caesar Act and require an interagency report on the administration's counter-normalization strategy.
A man walks past a poster of President Bashar al-Assad, a candidate for the Presidential election, in the Syrian capital Damascus on May 17, 2021. - A Syrian former minister and a member of the Damascus-tolerated opposition will face Bashar al-Assad in this month's presidential election, the constitutional court said. The Assad-appointed body approved only three out of 51 applications to stand in the May 26 ballot, among them the 55-year-old president himself, widely expected to win a fourth mandate. (Photo

WASHINGTON — As Arab states rebuild ties with Syria, a bipartisan group of US lawmakers has introduced sweeping legislation seeking to counter the normalization of President Bashar al-Assad. 

First reported by Al-Monitor, the bill led by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) would expand economic sanctions against Assad’s financial backers and cronies. Dubbed the “Assad Regime Anti-Normalization Act of 2023,” its release comes days after the Arab League voted to readmit Syria, whose membership was suspended over Assad’s bloody response to his country’s peaceful uprising in 2011. 

"Countries choosing to normalize with the unrepentant mass murderer and drug trafficker, Bashar al-Assad, are headed down the wrong path," Wilson said in a statement Thursday. 

The bill's seven other co-sponsors include House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and the co-chairs of Congress' Syria caucus, Reps. French Hill (R-Ariz.) and Brendan Boyle (D-Penn.). 

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