Three Republican Congressmen enter Syria illegally, fraternize with terrorist groups
Republican congressmen mingle with US-sanctioned terror gangs accused of human rights abuses
On Sunday 27th August three Republican Congressmen entered Syria via the Bab Al Salameh border crossing between Turkey and Syria.
French Hill, Scott Fitzgerald and Ben Cline followed in the inglorious footsteps of Senator John McCain who met with terror group leaders inside Syria in 2013 and 2017.
The three “lawmakers” would have been escorted by the members of two extremist armed groups who control the Bab Al Salameh crossing - Hamzah Brigade and Suleiman Shah Brigade. Both groups have only recently been put under U.S. sanctions by the Biden Administration for alleged human rights abuses including civilian abduction, rape and torture.
The Hamzah Division formed in 2016 as an armed opposition group involved in abductions, theft and torture. A 2021 UN report accused the Hama Division of ill-treatment and torture directly causing death in the locations of Hawar Killis, Rai and informal detention sites.
…Hamza Division has been involved in brutal repression under his leadership. This includes kidnapping Kurdish women and severely abusing prisoners, sometimes resulting in death.
The Suleiman Shah Brigade, a component of the Syrian National Army and part of the armed opposition to the Syrian government, is said to hold significant control over civilians in the Afrin region.
The brigade has targeted Kurdish residents, many of whom are subjected to harassments, abduction and other abuses.
Suleiman Shah Brigade leader Mohammad Hussein al-Jasim (Abu Amsha) is accused of ordering the militia to kidnap local residents, demanding ransom and confiscating their property. He also alleged to have raped the wife of a brigade member and threatened her with violence if she did not remain silent.
His younger brother, Walid Hussein al-Jasim, was also sanctioned on Thursday. He faces several charges related to sexual assault against women.
French Hill has been instrumental in the doubling down of sanction pressure on the Syrian people with the September 2022 Bill to ‘Disrupt and dismantle Assad’s narcotics production and trafficking’ and the May 2023 ‘Anti-Assad normalisation Act’ .
The viciousness of both Bills is off the scale. I have reported previously on the BBC involvement in the justification of the Captagon Act - unsubstantiated claims that President Assad has turned Syria into a ‘Narco-state’. The anti-normalisation Act is nothing more than a reflection of US impotence in the face of their allies, Saudi Arabia and UAE, accepting President Assad and Syria back into the Arab League fold:
“Normalization of relations with Syria will only legitimize his regime’s heinous acts. I am proud to join Congressman Wilson to introduce the Assad Anti-Normalization Act, which condemns the normalization of relations with Bashar al-Assad and imposes sanctions on those who support him.”
Specifically, this legislation would:
Require an annual strategy for five years to counter normalization with the Assad regime by countries which have taken steps to normalize with the Assad regime.
Prohibit any federal government department or agency from recognizing or normalizing with any government in Syria led by Bashar al-Assad.
Require an immediate review for Caesar Act sanctions for any grants of $50,000 or more to Syria.
Require a report into the United Nations assistance that has gone to Syria which has gone to the benefit of the Assad regime.
Expand the Caesar Act by plugging loopholes in the original bill which made it hard to enforce. It would also expand Caesar Act sanctions to those involved in diverting and stealing humanitarian assistance meant for the people of Syria and those involved in stealing the property of the Syrian people for political reasons or personal gain.
Sanction the members of Syria’s People’s Assembly and their immediate family members, as well as those who provide them with support, along with senior officials of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party in Syria.
Clarify the applicability of current sanctions to Syrian regime airlines, and to energy transactions – sending a clear sign to countries normalizing with Assad which are considering allowing Syrian regime airlines to land in their airports.
Determine whether or not Asma al-Assad’s charity the Syria Trust for Development meets the criteria for sanctions under the Caesar Act.
Allow the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to request review of any names for Caesar Act sanctions which the President would be required to consider within 30 days.
Despite fraternizing with proscribed terrorist groups and their White Helmet auxiliaries also accused of human rights abuses by the Syrian people who came into contact with them - the three Congressmen are not being questioned or prosecuted for their involvement with these groups.
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