FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
This morning SETF gave a press conference applauding the latest sanctions against Saydnaya Military Prison, Syrian Military Intelligence Branches and Senior Officials, Syrian General Intelligence Directorate Branch 251 and Ahmed Al-Dib, Ahrar Al-Sharqiya, Ahmed Ihsan Fayyad Al-Hayes and Raed Jassim Al-Hayes. SETF team members, Mouaz Moustafa, Omar Alshogre, Sam Goodwin and Ambassador Stephen Rapp participated in the press conference, discussing the importance of these latest sanctions.
These sanctions are “… the first of their kind since President Biden’s administration has taken power” (Mouaz Moustafa), and are especially important since they target some of the prison branches where the worst crimes against humanity have been seen in Syria. As Omar Alshogre pointed out “During my time in prison there was about a month where there was less torture and more food…. That was when the Caesar photos were released and the whole world was talking about it…. If you limit the torture by one week you save so many lives and we can do that by imposing these sanctions on the Syrian regime.”
However, the work is nowhere near complete. As Ambassador Rapp pointed out “It would be extremely important to do more in the prosecution area”. He also pointed out the importance of pursuing accountability including in US courts.
These sanctions are an important and symbolic step, but the Biden administration must develop a clear strategy to reach a political settlement. The first step in making a political solution possible is to work in coordination with our European and regional allies to protect Idlib from the Assad regime, Iran, and Russia.
Director of Communications Syrian Emergency Task Force