Photo: The family members of victims of arbitrary detention in Syria gathered last week outside a major trial in Germany that convicted a senior-ranking member of the Syrian regime. Paul Wagner / The Syria Campaign
When President Biden took office a year ago, many Syrians and Syrian-Americans hoped that human rights would become the center of US foreign policy. But a year on, the Biden administration is silent in the face of devastating human rights abuses – and even silent as some US allies shake hands with the criminal Assad regime.
We are at a turning point for Syria. The media and international community have become jaded to the extreme suffering of civilians – and if the US government turns a blind eye to the regime’s torture and bombs, it’s in danger of emboldening Assad and other states with dire human rights records. Now we have a situation where some governments are threatening to force refugees to return to Syria – even though they face arbitrary detention or even death in Syria.
That’s why this week over 30 Syrian human rights groups wrote to the President urging him to do right by the Syrian people who have endured years of suffering. Will you show your support and add your name to demand Biden acts on Syria before it’s too late?
There is so much the United States can do to help Syrians and to prevent ongoing atrocities. Since 2011, over 350,000 civilians have been killed and seven million more fled the country, but the Syrian regime and other warlords are still escaping justice for crimes against humanity. As a member of the UN Security Council, Biden can turn up the heat on Assad and his allies to stop the attacks and free detainees; deter US partners in the Middle East from whitewashing the regime; and spearhead historic judicial war crimes proceedings.
As the leader of a global superpower, President Biden has a responsibility to stand up to ongoing mass atrocities. Period. Syria’s leader Bashar al-Assad is still bombing civilians in Syria, targeting basic facilities such as hospitals and schools in the middle of the COVID pandemic, and committing arbitrary detention and torture on an industrial scale. But with no clear US policy to pursue a peaceful future for Syria, time is running out for Biden to make an impact for Syrians.