On July 26, Congresswoman Laura Richardson (D-CA) introduced H.Res 742, a bipartisan resolution condemning the Russian government for supporting the Syrian regime. The Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, continues to perpetrate mass atrocities against its own people. Since violence began in March 2011, an estimated 20,000 civilians have been killed.
The Russian government remains one of Syrian regime’s closest allies as it continues to provide weapons and extensive political support on the United Nations Security Council. Russia has vetoed three UN resolutions that would have spurred more meaningful action to hold the Assad regime accountable for violence against civilians. In 2011, the Russian government provided over $1 billion in weapons to Assad’s regime and continues to transport arms.
The congressional resolution clearly states that Russia has enabled the Syrian regime to commit mass atrocities and that Russian actions have undermined U.S. national security interests as well as stability in the Middle East. It urges the Russian government to:
- Immediately end all transfers of weapons to the Assad regime;
- Call on the Assad regime to end all violence against civilians;
- Support international sanctions against Syria; and
- Support a peaceful transition of leadership in the Government of Syria, starting with the early departure of Bashar al-Assad.
Additional original co-sponsors include Representatives Dave Camp (R-MI), Shelia Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), and Sue Myrick (R-NC). The resolution is a companion to a Senate resolution that was introduced in June by Senator John Cornyn and has gained 15 co-sponsors.