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house Bill H.R. 31

Do Sanctions on Assad’s Supporters Need to be Increased?

Argument in favor

America needs to take a leadership role in ending the conflict in Syria peacefully. By giving Assad’s supporters a choice between increased sanctions or peace negotiations this will save the lives of innocent Syrians and allow war criminals to be brought to justice.

DrCindyBean's Opinion
This bill should have bi partisan support.
Like (4)
Tom's Opinion
A message needs to be sent to the Assad regime, and those who support it, that stability and peace need to become a norm in the Middle East. Hopefully the additional sanctions will have the desired result, especially now that Trump is ready to pull our troops out of Syria.
Like (2)
Elizabeth's Opinion
I agree. This bill should have bipartisan support.
Like (2)

Argument opposed

The U.S. shouldn’t be further involving itself in the Syrian conflict by sanctioning supporters of the Assad regime. Besides, there’s no guarantee that this bill would actually do anything to stop the regime and its Russian supporters from committing more war crimes.

TuckerWantsLiberty's Opinion
last Thursday
UNINVOLVE US. This is not our fight. We have not helped. We cannot help. Our track record does not indicate that we should expect (or be expected) to help. For the good of all that is good, STAND DOWN.
Like (6)
eliyak's Opinion
We need to stop playing global policeman. We are bad at it too.
Like (3)
Jeffrey's Opinion
last Thursday
Until don puts his employees back to work and restart negotiations over the wall outside of agencies already in place then we need to keep our noses out of foreign affairs and concentrate on ours
Like (1)

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 31?

This bill would impose new sanctions on supporters of the Assad regime in Syria, encourage negotiations to end the crisis, and begin investigations that will eventually lead to the prosecution of war criminals.

It would impose new sanctions on anyone who:

  • Does business with or provides financing to the Syrian government, its intelligence or security services, or the Central Bank of Syria;

  • Provides aircraft or spare parts (or financing for either) to Syria’s airlines;

  • Does business with transportation or telecommunications businesses controlled by the Syrian government;

  • Supports Syria’s energy industry.

The president would be able to waive sanctions on a case-by-case basis. Sanctions could also be suspended if the parties to the conflict engage in meaningful negotiations and the violence against civilians has ceased. The suspension would be renewable if it is critical to the continuation of negotiations and attacks against civilians have ceased.

The Secretary of State would be authorized to support entities that are collecting and preserving evidence for the eventual prosecution of those who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria. The president would be required to give Congress a report with the names of those who are responsible for or are complicit with violating the human rights of the Syrian people.

The bill would also require the president to submit a report on the potential effectiveness, risks, and operational requirements of establishing and maintaining a no-fly zone or safe zone over part or all of Syria.


Syrian civilians; supporters of the Assad regime and those who will be investigated for war crimes; parties to potential peace negotiations; Congress; and the president.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 31

$3.00 Million
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost $3 million over the 2018-2022 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) reintroduced this bill from the 115h Congress to hold the Assad regime accountable for its crimes and encourage negotiations to end the conflict which has killed nearly 89,000 civilians. When he introduced this bill in the 115th Congress, Rep. Engel said:

“After six years of brutality, we have to jolt this bloody crisis out of its status quo. The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act would impose new sanctions on any anyone who does business with the Assad regime—going after the money, airplanes, spare parts, oil, military supply chain, and Assad’s enablers that drive this horrific war machine.”

The bill is known as the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act in honor of a former Syrian military photographer who defected after documenting Assad’s crimes.

This bill's 116th Congress reintroduction has 36 cosponsors, including 21 Democrats and 15 Republicans.  In the 115th Congress, this legislation was passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on a voice vote, and had the support of 108 bipartisan cosponsors in the House — including 57 Democrats and 51 Republicans. During the 114th session of Congress, the House passed this bill on a voice vote but it wasn't considered by the Senate before the 114th Congress concluded.


Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Bertilvidet / Creative Commons)


Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019

Official Title

To require certain additional actions in connection with the national emergency with respect to Syria, and for other purposes.