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tv   Hearing on U.S.- Syria Policy  CSPAN  June 10, 2022 8:00pm-10:06pm EDT

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>> you think it's just the community center? way more than that. >> comcast partnering with 1000 community centers to create wi-fi enabled lists of students from low income families can get the tools they need to be ready for anything. ♪♪ comcast supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> now a senate hearing focusing on ongoing serious conflict in the administration strategy in the region. among those testifying were a syrian eyewitness forced to dig mass graves in syria. the witness able to escape to germany detailed atrocities he experienced and urged u.s. and allies to act against syrian president bashar al-assad. officials from the pentagon and state department also testified. the senate foreign relations committee hearing runs about two
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hours. [background noises] >> this hearing will come to order. secretary lee, we are glad to get to welcome you, i'm glad you finally made it and we are happy here, thank you for coming before us today. deputy assistant secretary, thank you for coming back to the
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committee as i'm sure many no, the assistants secretary was or middle east expert for a while so we are glad to see her back. i've been asking simple but important question for some time that i hope this hearing will answer. the administrations strategy on syria? during the last presidential election secretary lincoln road when joe biden is president when joe biden is president, we will restore u.s. leadership on military issues and yet with the frozen conflict in syria leading to immense humanitarian political security dilemmas, leadership from the united states or elsewhere seems lacking. life to syria are resuming the embassies of damascus are reopening. when asad landed in march, was given a warmm welcome as any
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other head of state would have received. as if he had never ordered a barbaric bombardment of innocent syrian civilians, as if asad never ordered chemical weapon attacks that left children gasping for their lives. this comes within weeks of new evidence of syrian atrocities coming to light. video of asad soldiers forcing victims to climb down to a mass grave before massacring them. think of the message it sends to other dictators around the world who would wish her innocent civilians, you can commit more crimes and broad daylight on camera and the global community will just shrug it's shoulders.e this is not lost on iran after propping up asad with billions of dollars, after supporting with the revolutionary guard board such impunity only fuels region all aggression. her to attacks on us personnel or
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threatening our allies and partners in iraq and jordan not to mention fueling an active battleground on israel's border and it is not lost on pitching. no one who has followed putin's brutality in syria the past decade should be surprised that he is starving and showing ukrainians just as he start and shelled syrians. while i have seen the administrations written strategy for serious required in the and the aa , which was skeletal from my perspective i look forward to delving a bit more in detail into the tools and us international political will to execute that strategy. i'd like to hear whether you believe un security council resolution 2255 has lived up to the path we thought it was good. because it seems the roads we need to be traveling onour
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crumbling . earlier this year in an attempt to free imprisoned extremists isis launched a massive jailbreak. they attacked a syrian prison with car bombs andgunmen in a battle that lasted more than a week . on top of that the assad regime and hezbollah are manufacturing addictive pills effectively turning syria into a nautical states, trafficking the drug throughout europe and the middle east to obtain hard currency despite sections with the un mandate for cross-border humanitarian aid expiring next month there is a real question as to whether russia will support an extension. particularly as the war in ukraine has ushered in a food crisis that has hit syria and a number of its neighbors. we need to continue to prioritize our response to this dire humanitarian situation. we must continue to support
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partners in jordan, lebanon and turkey across europe will have absorbed the community that amounts to 6.8 million people worldwide. added to this another 6.7 million who have been displaced within syria. leaving an entire generation of syrian children growing up with dim prospects of ever returning home or the possibility of a bright future. to close let me lay out what i see as priorities that the us and international community must continue to hold the assad regime accountable for its crimes. we need acomprehensive strategy . one that enforces fully the robust set of us sanctions and means to build leverage that will sharpen assad's choices and maintain his political isolation. this includes using such sanctions against assad's benefactors in moscow and karen and means pending a clear signal we cannot tolerate a return to business
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as usual with assad and his murderous regime. a strategy would lean in to aggressive un diplomacy to continue to marshal the international community in support of this leverage and reinvigorate the political process . to this and i am glad that the nda bureau has appointed and confirmed later us secretary but there remain a number of nominees for viable positions in the middle east need to move forward including crucially for syria as usaid's assistant administrator for the middle east. the us would continue to prioritize bringing its own resources and resources of the international community to bear on serious humanitarian crisis while being judicious to focus our assistance in ways that doesn't benefit the regime . it would include how to continue to help syria's neighbors especially jordan and lebanon who have shown incredible hospitality to those fleeing assad's
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brutality but nonetheless are bearing a significant strain . to that end we need a full-court press to address the mandate for the last remaining border crossing for desperately needed humanitarian assistance to hold with a ready to implement strategy for pushing that assistance if and when russia uses its veto. putin cannot be allowed to hold desperate syrians as ransom for demands of relief. that strategy should include new consideration of russia's role in syria following the invasion of ukraine and steps needed to reduce russian activities while denying around and hezbollah the ability to fill any vacuum created by russia's occupation with ukraine. it should also address turkish role in syria taking into consideration is hosting millions of refugees and its position as a launch! for humanitarian assistance. to its destructive campaigns against our curtis partners
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in the fight against isis including renewed threats to invade northern syria. it would further flush out steps needed to counter the danger posed by hezbollah and iranian weapons and traffic across syria and layout concrete steps to be taken to secure the release of the us citizens often times who have been detained by the hassan regime since 2012 and 2017 respectively. it must provide a path forward that allows unfettered the military and access and war crime investigations and must provide a long-term legal strategy for ensuring that the hoarders that the has inflicted on the syrian people do not go unanswered. and it should describe how the us can help rally the weight of international pressure to pursue the political path to unfreeze this conflict. on this congress has been clear. we overwhelmingly passed the syrian civilian protection act with whose primary
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purpose is to sanction companies or individuals who facilitate those brutalities or that they are doing business with the syrian government or its security services providing aircraft for spare parts and i would like to see the administration use all these tools. we cannot simply allow the regime to return to business as usual. we cannot turn our backs on the syrian people and we cannot give up supporting them as so many desperately try to work towards a free and democratic syria. america's values, its principles and its reputation on the world stage hanging in the balance. with that let me turn to senator rich, ranking member's let me put my statements in two contexts before i start. >> ..
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the world had never seen atrocities to this scale since the second world war and what we are uncovering now in ukraine. the crimes are well documented in addition to caesar fire, hundreds of thousands of government documents linking crimes directly to al-assad. stephen, former u.s. ambassador for war crimes argued we have more evidence against the regime and we did against the nazis. in a previous hearing we heard directly from the regimes
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continued atrocities. today, who hear from another who risked his life to bring these accounts of gross human rights violations to the international community. accountability for a thought has been slow and mechanisms are few. neither syrian or the united states members of the international court and it remains a dangerously politicized body. nations have begun to pursue accountability under their own courts, i was heartened to hear recent conviction of an official in ger conviction of the regime involved in a mass scale. this is a start but we need to do more. we must establish robust formalized accountability mechanism turning to syria policy moving forward, the united states has longus maintained a policy of economic diplomatic isolation to force a political solution to the syrian conflict. litical solution in thn conflict. unfortunately that policy is beginning to crumble and i remain concerned this
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administration is accepted the role as the conclusion. worse, i feel the administration is approving outreach to the regime. sanctions enforcement has been lacking and administration support for energy through syria to lebanon violates the caesar act. i'm deeply concerned with the administration's funding so-called early recovery projects in regime held argus. these activities crossed the line for prohibited construction and open the door to normalization with a thought. the administration's syria policy consists of four lines of effort. the islamic state, maintain cease-fire and syria, expand humanitarian access and seek accountability for crimes. while these are, it's my concern they have been sufficient efforts expanding beyond manicuring access into the realm of reconstruction always seemed little movement seeking accountability for the regime.
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it's virtually vitally important the u.s. hold the line against the regime, current and future autocrats are watching actions. we cannot send a message to forget these atrocities over time and welcome assault back to the international community. i'm gravely concerned by the number of our partners who have increased formal and informal relationships with the regime in recent years including establishment of official diplomatic outposts in pursuit of economic relationships. you 80s outreach has been particularly problematic. the normalization reconstruction is clear. any engagement with the regime, diplomatic or economic must be met with firm response using tools laid out in the caesar act. we must ensure policy doesn't entrench the regime, energizes progress under the security council resolution 2254 and the american values. i asked unanimous consent, video
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documenting regime war crimes and be added to the record. it is difficult to watch, it is important we put these crimes out in the light of day. to the witnesses again, thank you for being here, the chairman and i have talked about the situation, about the problems. we have a lot of witnesses who come reiterate what we have said. we've outlined the problems with the tools, we want to hear how you use them to do what you have said is a policy in the united states. thank you for being here. >> thank you, senator. your video will be included without objection. we will start witness testimony, secretary lee and assistant secretary, your full statements will be included in the record without objection. we ask you to summarize in about five minutes or so to enter into
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conversation with you. your recognized. >> chairman menendez, distinguished members of the committee, for the past year the administration has led allies and partners crafting common diplomatic approach to syria pursuing concrete actions to improve lives of syrians to protect vital national u.s. national security interest. let me be frank, after more than a decade of conflict prospects remain limited for advancing political solution worthy of syrians who demand change more than ten years ago. syrians are hungrier and more impoverished than at any time in the conflict with over 12 million food insecure. the ultimate responsibly for this tragedy rests backed by russia and iran who's brought us to the brink of ruin and remains in transient. the administration led international coordination in the face of this, we focus on
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bettering conditions for syrians pursuing justice for those wronged by the regimes mitigated risk with neighbors of this terrible conflict. we have the following priority defeating isis and credit increasing access to humanitarian aid keeping provincetown maintaining cease-fire, promoting accountability for the regime's atrocity. these are critical steps on the path to advancing adjust political settlement under 2254. we continue to strongly support special envoy peterson effort and i look forward to speaking with him this week. we remain committed to working relentless and bring home american citizens wrongfully detained or held hostage to include. in terms of reducing suffering on the ground humanitarian needs are higher than ever compounded by the historic levels of drought, decades of mismanagement and corruption and the terrible effects in global food security, putin's war on
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ukraine. expanding humanitarian access is central to our strategy. last year he successfully negotiated a new resolution for 25852 keep order crossings opened in northwestern syria and we are deeply committed to doing the same this year. we've been committed from day one, preserving military presence in the northeast, coalescing international support to increase stabilization funding. we press countries of origin nationals from northeast syria including foreign terrorist fighters. areas liberated from isis civilization assistance and new economic opportunities will help address growing economic insecurity and keep isis at bay. on existing cease-fire, we were deeply concerned by recent increase rhetoric from turkey about potential military moves into north syria and we've stepped up diplomatic engagement
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to attempt to stop that. i know in the past two years violence in syria at its lowest compared to other periods in the decade but we are working to keep it so. the administration is committed to promoting accountability and justice and enduring peace and stability and syria will not be possible without justice for the syrian people. i mindful your panel will include testimony from ralph whistleblower known as the gravedigger. i've had the honor to meet and harrowing accounts of atrocities in syria shook me to the core. we will continue to promote accountability for his atrocities. sanctions including those under the caesar act are critical elements in that regard. we are grateful to congress adding to the bipartisan efforts to broaden our toolkit and continue to use all our tools including caesar against the regime. all of our efforts support wider security and stability to offset
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the effects criminal war has had on neighbors. iranian forces including irg see, has blocked friend security directly of allies and partners, most certainly israel and german. in that regard, the u.s. fully supports israel's ability to exercise its right of self-defense. while i have outlined necessary building blocks for regional stability and prerequisites building a road to political resolution, i want to be clear on what we have not done in syria and what we will not do which is support efforts to normalize or rehabilitate, lift sanctions on regime change position opposing reconstruction and syria until there's authentic enduring progress or political solution. the single largest impediment to the goal, they must and will be held accountable.
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thank you very much. >> thank you, secretary. >> chairman menendez, english members of the committee, it is an honor to testify before you today particularly because u.s. policy for syria and issue have spent significant time working on with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as a professional staff member for this committee. it is our pleasure to join her first testimony before you and the state department. dod role in syria is limited by geography and mission, the department supports the lines of effort identified and outlined by assistant secretary we put our activities on the ground are solely focused on enduring defeat of isis. to achieve this, dod as part of the global coalition to defeat isis works by, with and through
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that it capable partner forces in northeast syria and in the vicinity southern syria. dod remains capable of rapidly deploying forces to conduct operations in other areas of syria, exemplified by the february 22 rate resulting in the death of former isis leader. isis remains real potent threat, the group continues to conduct attacks and maintain intent to direct, support and inspire attacks across the globe and against the homeland. in northeast syria, syrian democratic forces remain our most capable partner in the fight. the fund is an essential tool for enabling stf and other vetted partners to achieve the defeat of isis, tremendous things to congress for your continuing support and
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authorizing appropriate tests. we directed toward basic life support, detention facility construction, training and sustainment. military tools alone cannot achieve isis enduring defeat. the international community must do more to prevent isis from reconstituting. number one, increasing support for stabilization and areas liberated from isis and number two, prioritize reducing isis wider population and displaced persons camp managed by sef across syria. this includes more than 10000 isis fighters and approximately 60000 displaced persons. the department is focused on supporting sef to provide for the humane secure detention of these populations working with sef to grow and professionalize guard force responsible for
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securing facilities. january 22 isis attack is a reminder isis still a serious threat and sees detention facilities as an area from which to reconstitute forces. countries of origin must repatriate, rehabilitate, re- integrate and where appropriate, prosecute, there nationals residing in northeast syria. quixote support state department efforts providing adjustable support to countries willing to bring national home for the more we support efforts to work with the government to accelerate case of the repatriation effort. beyond the focus on the isis mission, i want to touch on the stress opposing risk of forces risk mission in syria. number one, iran. iran enables aligned militia and iraq and syria to execute
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indirect fire and unmanned aerial system attacks against u.s. and coalition forces will not hesitate to take proportionate action defense to protect service members. number two, russia. syria remains one area in the world for u.s. russian forces operate in close proximity on a daily basis. the coalition maintains with the russian military to protect coalition forces reduce risk of inadvertent this calculation. number three, turkish military operations in northern syria, we are working to maintain the d isis mission, sure safety of the civilian operation and above all the protection of the u.s. coalition forces. large-scale incursion will undermine and jeopardize for missions and priorities, we've communicated concerns to turkey across the u.s. government.
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it should go without saying that iran and russia's military intervention and ongoing activity inside syria and service of the regime have enabled brutal violence and human rights abuses against the people. quixote supports the state department whole of government strategy to end violence by focusing on concrete action to improve the lives of syrians and underlying causes of the conflict. thank you and i look forward to your sessions. >> let me ask you both, without the benefit of further details from of the strategy provided by the administration seems a continuation of what is already being done. can you provide further details on the strategy to shed light whether and how it represents
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course correction from earlier attempts to address the crisis? what about this is different from what's already done that's if there are no significant changes, what makes you think it will work now after 11 years of conflict? >> thank you for that question, i am not sure i would call it a course correction but the administration undertook and evaluation, the situation in syria as presented today and find or u.s. national security interests as i outlined in elaborated ways to pursue them, it's a larger multilateral effort having with partners in the region and europe taking
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attention toward that conflict and away from syria and i plan to make syria a priority within the department of state to enhance as noted. the ranking member noted, sharpen the pressure and close collaboration with peterson to define how we might best use the leverage we have, isolation,
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enhanced isolation and depression to get substantial gain. among other things and even the political seems a lot right now, and there are a series of things and within the resume ability news soon change, and even conditions such as an accountability for the disappeared ceasing of the construction setting conditions for the safe return of refugees. i view these pieces assembled as being the element can tell you what i hear from leaders in the region and basically their argument is your all not doing anything about massage. we need to deal with it in the absence of any concrete measures. you saw the you posted a thought
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on the anniversary which was a callous moment most of them any moment. what further steps of the administration taking to prevent countries like you a you and others normalizing ties with the asad regime? >> sermon, one thing i have looked at closely is the difference between the rhetoric and misinformation disinformation, much propagated by russians and iranians to suggest sweeping ways in the region. an opinion is divided with a significant number of states having no desire having traveled down that road. what i hear from the partners of ours in the region, there is an
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arab voice, arab voices missing in damascus for too long. the way to get at negating, diminishing, pushing out iranian presence and iranian activities is to reinsert that. i am fully skeptical, i think it's from every direction and gives nothing in return. what i intend to urge is that engagement must produce results for the benefit of the syrian people. >> two final questions, we have the cross-border issue that will expire, how do you see that playing out? is a political solution under 2254 still viable? even though i think it's a desirable path, there is nothing behind it. >> to your first question, 2585 last year russia lost the same
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threat of a veto and the administration across the administration to bring countries together, a passage of a resolution doing a similar strategy, if anything there is greater sense around urgency and critical nature of a bore axis points and if anything, we look for further points so we are very committed to that. 2254, i agree, there's not a lot of room for optimism right now. i am an eternal optimist that i am focused on making progress
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whether the humanitarian conditions for syrian people, measures that lie within the remit to grants but i also intend to work aggressively on the political aspects. >> i hope your right on the issue, that was pre-ukraine. >> i agree, the situation will be a lot tougher now. a little over ten years ago i was in this room sitting here and we have people sitting in the chairs you are sitting in and they short us asad couldn't last more than 30 days a month that was over ten years ago and of course he's still there. during that ten years, it's hard to find anyone on the planet before it has done worse.
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he is right up there. when you see something like him being welcome by another country, the distinguished head of state, it is sickening particularly when it's being done by states that a friend of ours and share our values, there's nothing in welcoming this man is a conquering hero that reflects america's values at all. i hope you continue in strongest terms to communicate to those people how nauseating it is to us. the chairman and i have both done that and we would welcome to join in that, but we are
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going through in ukraine is somewhat like this, we can't have this in just as what happened in ukraine, the hostilities have cranked down but we can't have this in until it's over. it's not over, it will never be over until people are held to account for what they have done and we are a long ways from that. i think the one case i referred to is merely scratching the surface but this is something that's got to go on for a long time. i'd appreciate hearing from each of you your efforts as the chairman and i have done and push back on allies of ours from doing what they appear to be doing things well, it's over. no, it is not. >> i couldn't agree with you more, i've spent three years in bosnia after guns have fallen
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silent. a devastated country and years later it is still socially economically the walking wounded acute feeling among the public that accountability was missing and they were forced to live with people who had only a few years earlier killed, massacred their loved ones so i know how the failure for accountability wants society and why i am committed to this because society without the means to gain accountability to understand where their loved ones went, who was responsible and how they will be held accountable as a society simply cannot deal so i am dedicated to that and as to ten years ago, i
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admit at the time i was working on iraq, deputy six and secretary deeply concerned about the stove effects, it would act as a bellows on iraq and it did. i was ever confident assad would fall not because i had a crystal ball but is in the nature of such regimes they claim they are the last one to go down and they don't crack easily. all of that said, my own conversations with our partners in the region close or not so close will be informed by these values. i was shocked, welcomed as any head of state, we've made it clear it is an enormous propaganda value and nothing more so i will continue those
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efforts. >> i am almost out of time. he made reference in your opening statements to the situation in northeast syria. both of us have had heads of state and others from the region underscore what are really serious problem this is. what can you tell us about the situation and what you see there and what your efforts are to do something about it? >> thank you, as i noted in my opening statement, the only long-term solution both for the future stabilization in the area and the defeat of isis is the reduction of the population in the region of these isis buyers and country of origin, will need
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to go beyond iraq and syria. we are continually engaging through diplomacy and offering support to the country. number two, tremendous efforts through the united nations, the u.s. government and partners in the coalition to support the iraqi government, majority of these are iraq and origin and long-term solution for the integration of syrian fighters into the communities which will be difficult without broader political process syria button is a long-term proposition and will require intense painstaking diplomacy supported by humanitarian stabilization aid which we will continue. we are focused on ensuring facilities are secure and humane to the housing and sncf bearing the burden for the international community securely and humanely have the support they provide. going with authorities to
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construct purposeful studies for the secure humane detention of isis items and ensuring the guards of these areas have proper training to address the needs of the population and need to detain them. >> thank you, mr. chairman and our witnesses. i want to follow up on the accountability issue because it is concerning to know that asad has been able to accumulate corruption in the way these led syria misuse of power to see him welcomed, he said he made it clear to the uae and other countries in the region that have done similar types of accommodations the regime, contrary to our policies that
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have good ties and partnerships with the united states. you go more with us for the game plan isolating the asad regime particularly in the region and how we engage traditional preachers in the region to make it clear welcoming asad is not welcome here in the united states? >> thank you for that question. over the course of the past year i would say you have a couple of high profile events such as asad posted in the uae. there have been phone calls and interactions between regional governments and the regime, have not highlighted every time we had the discussions but i can assure you there ongoing which
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each and every government in the region and last year there was quite a bit of remix, more than remote that there was consideration of unfreezing, reinstating serious membership, the decision for the league and the members suffice to say who's had a number of conversations and in the end there was no appetite for that and that's why i said earlier there is the effort ongoing by the regime to paint a picture that's re- embraced by the region. they are making sure it is not the case. i plan to use a variety of tools to that end to sharpen his isolation and it will be part of the roadmap with our submission,
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i hope eventually our missions will be led by confirmed investors but they were have their playbook that conversation with the government to ensure we muster the deepest sense of leverage against all the elements. >> talking about the asad regime trying to reach out to be a serious who disagree and the trap act, what strategies do we have to make it clear that we will not allow the conversation to be in a manipulated by the regime, what reforms are we working on and how much success have we had? >> that's something i would need
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to get more reach on but suffice to say i recognize this is a key piece of our approach. we do not want the abuse to essentially go after dissidents or everyday experience living abroad. i will make that part of the playbook. >> i appreciate that let me underscore a lot of tools at our disposal including sanctions and other ways we can express concerns about the conduct of the asad regime. i suggest the timing on these issues could be impacted by what's happening in the region as far as asad being welcomed in other countries, and issue we have to be sensitive how we handle the timing to make it clear we not accept asad being
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welcomed as a normal partner in the region. >> points well taken, thank you. >> senator portman is with us virtually. >> appreciate it and thanks for your testimony today. for what it is worth, my sense is other countries are looking to us to figure out what our plan is long-term for asad and until we have a clear picture and give them a better sense of what we intend to have happen, i think it is difficult for us help us in terms of isolating him, developing a normal relationship with him. our u.s. policy preserving the official war, those are
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questions that i think have to be answered. i don't know if you're interested in answering that. i want to focus on two issues, using food as a weapon, we've seen resident putin do this in ukraine, he's doing it as we talk and we have seen asad and russia do that. the russian diplomats united nations security council abused their power to close down these core doors going into syria. groups around the world, starting people in syria are frustrated, it's making their work harder. i guess they believe by taking away this ability to help on the food front, it forces people to rely on asad, his legitimacy would be enhanced by the.
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i would like to know if you think that is true but my question is, there's a resolution coming up next month to hopefully reauthorize the one remaining border crossing still being used so will russia veto that resolution and what are you doing to engage other countries to ensure this can continue? >> to your question, food as a weapon, making them more food insecure makes them more dependent on asad, i think the answer is simpler. it is cruelty for cruelty psaki. it is brutality, it's because they can do it.
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the record of the conflict. we are already well underway in terms of methodical aggressive efforts to have it renewed as a cross-border access points into western syria and we will look for further access points. it is more critical than even last year when it was urgent that be maintained. food insecurity is all the greater because of putin's brutal war on ukraine and what it has done to lockup ukrainian week stores and other commodities and other ports so it is more critical than ever
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humanitarian community is on it, the donor community is fixated on it and i think there is a wide consensus already that cross borders must be renewed. >> you been to submit my second question about ukraine and whether it's a vaccine, russian consisting on odesa having an impact, global food insecurity and you said it does have an impact and including the week part of the humanitarian aid practices necessary because it's p keeping people alive so thank you for that. funding this issue, it's a constant frustration, the turks believe somehow sef is a significant threat to them and
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my understanding is they are on the offensive against our allies and they have signaled in some cases they might be willing to partner with the regime out of desperation. do you agree with that and i have you engaged not to attack allies and if so, what was the response? >> thank you, the turkish government is well aware of our views, we have had a series of high-level engagements with them, i have not yet, about a week or so into my job, i'm looking for early opportunity to engage the government on this but any venture, military operation across the border into northern area, first and foremost puts the civilian population in the crosshairs and
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second, severely present risk a critical mission global the isis coalition, the u.s. is undertaking and it puts into the crosshairs our own partners in the mission so we are completely on our efforts with the turkish government to back on this ill considered venture. >> senator shaheen. >> to do a follow-up on that question, is turkey going to back off? we are expressing concerns but so far they have not responded to our concerns not only on this but other areas. >> to be candid, i couldn't give you the assurance that they are going to. >> thank you. assistant secretary last august
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before this committee you gave a very thorough whole of government approach just as you did this morning with senator when he raised concerns about the isis detainees. unfortunately the situation has gotten worse in time and we have passed legislation to create an isis detainees coordinator and i understand will look at counterterrorism as well as isis detainees, i think that's probably not the best way to get something done in that area so can you talk about what we need to do to have a functioning coordinator who can do the things you've laid out so eloquently and needs to be done to address this problem?
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>> thank you for that question. on the specific question of identifying one coordinator, i'm going to defer to assistant secretary on how she tends to address that now that she's in but i will say from the od perspective within the authorities and resources we have number one, what we can do in near to medium term, support this ef and ensure these facilities, detainees are more secure and humane. it is not a military mission, they are humanitarian, we can do is support by giving them the tools and training for addressing the security and communitarian needs of that population. then engaging constantly about ensuring humanitarian ngo access
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to these populations -- >> i want to cut you off but let me ask secretary lee to respond, please. >> i've had several discussions in particular with the complement or general and we are going to work together on the set of issues, i hope to make an early trip to iraq and engage with government since so many of the women and children in that camp and fighters are of iraqi origin. i went to work closely with them on this issue because it does really require beyond isis coalition efforts to secure the camp to ensure constant humanitarian support, we have got to get it done. i have seen the numbers the last
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couple of years go from 73, 60000, they are not i think around 60000. we've got to be relentless on this and i plan to work to that effect with them. >> do you expect to have an isis detainees coordinator functioning in that capacity? >> honestly i don't know, i'll take your question back and come back to you. >> even though we passed legislation, it needs to happen? >> it has not happened yet, ct bureau is double-headed but i will take your question back. >> clearly i think we need to pass legislation. we are going to see something done and be serious about it then we have to have somebody in charge of that and while i understand it is still a problem, with other middle
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eastern members are coming and saying this is a problem that has to be addressed and we can't do it ourselves, we need to figure out how to get it done and so far we are not making much progress. i have a final question, secretary menendez talked about his opening remarks, we are seeing more and more availability not only helping fund the asad regime but also creating even more destabilizing synthetic trade, we are dealing with fentanyl, i've seen it very directly in my home state of new hampshire so i know potential problems from the synthetic drug trade so what can we do to help address that and are you confident the lebanese armed forces can help control that
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trade across the border with lebanon? >> i think the dimensions of the trade, production and trafficking which yes, this is something associated with members of the regime, isis, you name it, criminal and terrorist elements from lebanon to syria are involved so i think it's an effort that goes well beyond the limits of one actor however much they may attempt to deal with it. we've had discussions with saudis and the others deeply concerned about the spreading of toxic nature and what it's doing to their society so i will make it part of my mission to work with these governments. we do have a number of agencies engaged with regional partners and information sharing,
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coordinating operations and targeting financial trafficking network and we need to enhance those efforts. >> while it's another reason we need to ensure the armed forces continue to function, thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator kaine. >> thank you, mr. chairman. congratulations on your son's achievement yesterday, that was a very -- excit i want to ask about refugees, a syrian refugees and asylum seekers and neighboring countries and the effect they have on those countries and our policy here inum the united states. let me begin with the neighboring countries, sizable 6 million refugees and asylum seekers, sizable populations in lebanon, jordan, turkey, elsewhere certainly.rk refugee camps, many just living as they can in society and
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obviously small countries, lebanon, the number of refugees compared to the population that sizable, taxing on thesi school system andnd other services. a water poor country without water resources, refugee communities are significant challenges for them so talk about work we are doing, we have challenging relationships with turkey but turkey is hosting huge numbers of refugees and society, what are we doing with neighboring countries to help them deal with the refugee issues so they don't become real trouble spots in countries that have their own internal channel just to do it? >> thank you senator kaine, you've touched on one of the most enduring troubling tragic dimensionsbl of all sought war n its own people which is essential displacement of half of the population internally or
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externally. as you e said, this has been an enormous set of stressors on countries that are already stressed. lebanon you would think would have broken by now. jordan equally struggles at times in terms of scarce water resources but creation of jobs and so forth, turkey has something on the order of 4 million people ... domestically. we are using the generosity of the american taxpayer and this congress we are using funding streams we have to offset in every way possible this burden and one of the things as i >>ar anything insecure and the
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listed manner to their religion. the un said we agreed condition that large are not there involuntary dignified return of refugees and there is a question may be less a question of a conviction happy to keep all of the refugees outside the borders. we work with each country to assist with the nature of the pressures in the problems his —- hosting is refugees presents.
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and then to announce $8 million. and that was an assistance which would help toward that end. >> and the refugee admissions w compared to historic norms president biden said we would raise the refugee at 122,021 and then by order of magnitude it was 1200 in a year 76000 and a period of 90 days. supporting that on the afghan side and on the ukrainians guide these have been vetted
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through un refugee process. >> senator this is something i will come back to with that and wee will be having consultation and the numbers are quite low and my concern is that we manage the set of stressors on the neighboring countries with a variety of tools including welcoming to the united states. >> one final question there had than conflicting accounts of russia's invasion it had on
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its posture in syria with the overall security situation russian airstrikes have continued but perhaps at a a reduced tempo but now they are reports and then filling the vacuum. andw how and where has a one taken advantage of that change? >> no we have not seen a notable change in russian activities here in syria nor that commitment to back aside and the brittle campaign to terrorize syrian people. ian should note here that again russian forces are still active and operate in close proximity to us forces. it is a testament to the professionalism of us forces there had not dan and inadvertent escalation we are
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there about the work against period there isn no indication you taking meaningful action. >> this has been alluded to but the januaryry prison break in northeastern syria as well as other complex attacks is a reminder that isis remainss a ithreat in both countries even after the end of the physical caliphate. and then to t address the gaps and to boost capacity? >> thank you for the question they are under tremendous pressure in areas that has not
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stabilized or recovered and there is food security challenges and are the syria that are particularly acute and the sts family members and then to have access to medicine and supplies are very complicated in this part of northeast syria. so at the us military is doing with the coalition is using the authority and appropriations congress has granted us to continue to provide stipends, training and equipment focused exclusively on defeating isis and supporting the human 89 —- you mean attention of the detainees. and again just trying to support the sts. and then would be even under more strain to maintain the focus should there be a
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large-scale turkish invasion. >> . >> thinking mr. chairman thank you to both witnesses. that is a good jumping off point for my question hasn't makes clear that in no uncertain terms that an attack on kurdish groups in northern syria unacceptable to the united states as it has been ensaid the sts is critical to the fight against isis. how we communicated that is a clear no go? >> yes senator.
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>> . >> let me just add to it the ambassador just confirmed that we areio focused on the enduring fight of isis maintaining protections for the civilian population in northeastern syria and of course on the protection of us forces and by turkish military and then to jeopardize our commitment and to make that clear consistently. >> turkey has indicated they would like tour purchase additional f-16 and upgrades and existing f-16 how would the turkish military action in northern syria impact the administration's decision-making? >> .
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>> senator i would not have anything to offer you today and then to say this to be an unacceptable step. in both finland and sweden to nato because those countries support for the syrian kurds it seems to be a moment to communicate very clearly to turkey what the redlines are. let me ask you about economic support and i want to commend the administration for the granting of the general licenses. ambassador can you talk about how those additional economic support funds are implemented on the ground? >> in terms of general license
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22 senator, this came about through the very helpful suggestion that we look to enhance the opportunities for economic regeneration in the areas liberated from isis and that is what this license is all about is assisting the communities of people of those areas to engage in commercial activity that would create resiliency and to put at bay the prospects for isis. >> and with those new initiatives, can you talk more specifically how those funds are being used? >> i'm sorry senator i thought you are talking about the general license. you are talking about economic support? >> the relatively new
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development so relating to the upcoming vote of the un security council and then you indicated we went through this last year and at the end we were able toqu maintain the court or. happened with the russian invasion of ukraine. what is the impact if russia to prevent that action this year? >> not to put too fine a point
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on it, it would trigger a massive humanitarian crisis there is no substitute for a cross-border access point. as part of last year's discussion the language included a commitment of a crossline assistance to be prioritized and those efforts throughout the year. but to give you a sense of the scale on the order of one.5 million syrians on the average month there has been for cross-border conveyances of other commodities to syrians in the northwest over the course of the year. but the last one we are able to provide provisions over 43000 so the scale is different and committed to
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getting humanitarian assistance through all possible means but therere is no question that cross-border access is the single most important piece. >> colleagues have joined us. senator young. >> thank you chairman. as you know senator kane and i have been working on a repeal 1991 in 2002 authorizations for use of literary force. operation inherent resolve does not rely on either of these two justifications. rather it iss authorized pursuant to the 2001 au enough. is that accurate? >> yes. >> i just want to confirm my understanding with repeal of the 2002 un math negatively
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impact our servicemembers whatsoever in syria under operation inherent resolve? >> the repeal of the 2002 au enough mip to constrain the foreseeable operations in syria and iraq and to impact our ability as a domestic legal basis is that accurate does the dod have the to counter islamic states and with the counterterrorism operations.
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and we rely on the 2001 au enough to have the use of force of syria against al qaeda and isis. >> let me on record i still think it is a good idea since we are allies with the iraqi government and people and then targeted at the saddam hussein regime. assistant secretary despite the concern the ministration is signaling and normalization from the broker deal to deliver gas to lebanon and a pipeline in syria. the assad regime will have gas for recompense for regulating the flow.
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and how doesct that not violate us sanctions barring transactions with the syrian government? and then what we were hoping to do from this perspective arrangement. because no contracts have been finalized there is a process underway but let me start by saying to finalize those contracts between the various vegovernments the driver for any such arrangement is the benefit of the lebanese people lebanon has has been in a parlor state for several years and is now on the verge of state and societal collapse. we are trying to write it measures and the repercussions
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for the lebanese people are one thing that the repercussions would be even greater for israel and jordan and others we're working on a variety of measures by regional government coming forward with regional solutions like egypt and jordan transferring natural gas through the assyrian pipelines and as we understand it, there is no cash transfer of any kind to the syrian government it would be in kind and i word stress the lebanese people have two hours of electricity today with the matter of minutes. >> it's your belief having done this in consultation with the regional allies you don't think it sends mixed messages
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or any sort of negative message to allies who are fighting against the assad regime or countries in the region. >> i t think people are very clear who this is intended for and the kingwi of jordan was the most concerned of the partners about the prospect of collapse in lebanon. you like to do whatever is possible to mitigate the prospect. >> . >> thank you chairman and thank you to the panel for your service and testimony. russia's unprovoked attack on ukraine but it's critical we sustained and those led
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to massive suffering within 14 million people inside syria with humanitarian aid inhu nearly all 97 percent lives under the poverty line as those are responsible for the humanitarian assistance i keep pushing for robust assistance for those syrian refugees as the conflict grinds on into the 11th year. and that will lead to further suffering. and on the security council t withte the with the misinformation to prevent a
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veto. >>e and it is an abiding preoccupation for us and then working all channels and with some pretty significant players in the space and the channels with russia and one is turkey and will be directly affected by the scale of a humanitarian crisis unleashed by russia and that the turkish government is engaged in this discussion has are a number of others but russia will stand
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completely alone if they do go forward but is strictly a humanitarian matter and i am not going to see getting the results that we need. >> with with those 400 million people that were fed by ukrainian and with the world food program. what is the status of the he food supply in syria and what action are they taking to address the critical needs to the agricultural products with those shortages brought about by the invasion of ukraine and
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the continued blockade. >> i know there are efforts underway in a number of channels in the government to get to the heart of the problem and then the targeting of ukraine region and that is made vulnerable by serious populations by the trojan war on ukraine and even lebanon isel to import and a certain early recovery efforts. as part of the larger efforts
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how is russia repositioning with the increased iranian involvement of the security focus is ongoing. >> we saw no meaningful changes and russia intervention syria and to support the assad regime and with the syrian people but iran's ultimate objective and pushing the united states out of the region and supporting a network of as well as
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threatening israel and from the department of defense perspective our commitment to push back on these activities to support israel to the inherent right of self-defense has not changed. >> thank you mr. chairman secretary of want to ask you questions about the administration's plan and in the process using the infrastructure is capacitor to lebanon said and that conveyed assurances to that effect and i publicly stated at the time that was exceptionally poor
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advice. and about worried about violating us sanctions and so should every other country involved in these schemes. with the biden administration trying to enrich aside and congress to say nothing of this committee to say that sanctionss are fully enforced the actions of this administration are endangering the american allies to acute future sanctions risk. and also worrying the biden administration has been deliberately vague about this middle east policy. administration officials sometimes say to provide letters or licenses or waivers.
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that sanctions don't apply at also like to ask you about that. last october that one skiing falls under the humanitarian category no sanctions waiver would be required in this instance or even earlier the state departmentoy energy envoy had said that gas deals don't count as transactions at all. is it your understanding that the energy project and there would be exempt from the seas on —- seizure andeq exemptions we have not seen the final details of the contract so i reserve judgment he may no
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judgment or waivers or what have you been looking at the contracts and then to look at the details and to make a finding then. what we have seen and been privy to in terms of the arrangements under discussion at the world bank providing a two-year loan so once the world bank looks at this we look at the details of the contract to make a judgment affect. >> 's you have given assurances that sanctions would not apply? >> but they may engage in
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discussions but the final decision is the final decision by the department of treasury. >> i will note to the final decision will not be the final decision it will be successive administrations and i think it is quite likely in the future will immediately to restore pressure on iran. and as a result the conduct of the biden administration is exposingid our allies and with that respective arrangements on the concern of for the state of lebanon to collapse
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with the diminishing level of energy and by those of hezbollah of sanctioned iranian oil and then disappeared into the black market so this is a way of transparently and then to provide the life-sustaining with that energy to the public and that was on the point of collapse. >> and that doesn't give the administration and spending billions of dollars over last two decades to build of the lebanese armed forces stopping
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hezbollah into lebanon and how many times? >> i have to look at that in detail and come back. >> is a concerning the lebanese armed forces on the verge the only institution that has the capability to mitigate some of the effects and the one institution nationally trusted by the lebanese public struggling to carry out their responsibilities. the last thing is the last collapse i'm not satisfied with a discussion about the
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lack of sanctions. not totally unlike what senator cruz has been pursuing. but the answer is that syria will be paid in kind. so i would an asset they commit to respond. >> just announced we will go to the next panel but since you have just arrived in the ouneck of time and then moving to the next panel. >> every wednesday a committee scheduled for 10:00 o'clock.
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so i traveled to come some distance and the assad regime broke the taboo against these of chemical weapons we want to eliminate the scourge which is all the more important that russia and putin used weapons but in syria we know the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons is not receive certain requested information from syria and appointment of the declaration assessment team has been delayed because of difficulties acquiring a visa and with the inspection team to verify the elimination and the non- declared chemical weapons program.
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>> there is no doubt the assad regime retention of the capability of using these terrifying weapons against the public has to remain a top priority. i will commit i will put my own personal efforts to thatnt end to clear the way for the team to get into syria to do its work. >> wepu have to put special emphasis on it for ukraine because it is the complete uncertainty of the sustainability of the russian incursion of the desperation of the actions that are unacceptable. >> deputy assistant secretary according to the syrian observatory 40000 have registered to fight is anything thebe united states for
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its partners can do to help the thousands of syrian mercenaries quick. >> we have also seen reporting about large numbers of syrians being relocated to have seen large scale movements like that onou the ground if there are smaller groups that is fine but we have not seen an armed intelligence assessment with a large-scale movement we can monitor that very closely. >> so you are saying that is not translated into operational troops? >> that's what a i'm saying alsa it's important to note that massive amounts of disinformation in the environment by russia and the ukraine theater.
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>> and this information you are referring to their our syrian troops are not quick. >> we have not seen indications of large of tens of thousands of forces being to ukraine and that is disinformation. >> thank you to the committee to your testimony. there is about a dozen members. it is a topic of great significance. you are both excused. thank you. for the purposes and then to move through to the second panel and how far we can get to questions. and as we call upon them after 11 years of conflict to the
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conflict that will allow peace and dignity and those 11 years and with the treatment of fellow syrians of the act of participation of russia and from bail bonds and double tap airstrikes to the regimes industrial scale torture and then network of detention facilities. the numbers give a grim accounting unleashed on syrians to claim to govern them. half a million killed , 7 million of internally displaced with 6 million registered as refugees around the world. more than half of syria pre- world population. fourteen.6million with humanitariania assistance but the horrors inflicted by the regime in the continuing importance with the syrian
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cronies and enablers accounted for the crimes against its people. we would like to welcome a man known only as the gravedigger who will provide a harrowing and courageous eyewitness account of the atrocities in the attempt to literally bury the evidence of those crimes by burying its victims and mass graves. normally we ask them to limit testimony in five minutes we have agreed to allow the gravedigger ten minutes for his opening statement too allow the full weight of his testimony to be felt. but also like to welcome professor professor vlad at the cleveland marshall college of law and expert on international criminal law and human rights law and has written extensively on atrocityty accountability and the application in
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particular. thank you both for joining us today both of your statements are fully included for with the record and we would recognize the gravedigger for his remarks. >> thank you chairman menendez and ranking member for holding this hearing and thank you for inviting me to speak. i am honored to give testimony before the committee. thank you for giving me a chance to bring my voice to the united states congress, government, and most importantly, to the american people, whose democracy inspired our revolution in syria over a decade ago.
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march 11, 2020 the military photographer shared his story with you. every day hee photographed bodies that had been detained, tortured, murdered in syrian regime dungeons. the signs of torture were o clear and the photographs were here on display in front of your honorable committee. you start with your own eyes. innocent civilians experiencing the most brutal methods of torture. burning, strength in, sodomy and death all for daring to dream of a free syria. now, over two o years later, nothing has changed it is no less brutal. the syrian people are no less at risk. how many morend times does the witness to war crimes have to sit in front of you to describe the horrors of the
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assad regime? i sharing my story it will spark something inside of you or maybe a renewed hope for the future of syria. every time i tell my story, it takes a toll. but all i have is my voice. i will speak until liking it. i was witness to mass graves 2011 through 2018. when men and women, children and elderly were tortured, executed, gassed and bombed by the assad regime, russia and iran and thrown intoo trenches, the fate unknown to loved ones. their lives have been lost. they cannot be saved. they demand accountability. but the reason i am sharing my story today is to tell you they are digging mass graves right now. to bury more victims of assad and iran and russia. was anthe world administrative employee of the damascus municipality.
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i am a civilian. i'm a families make final preparations for loved ones passing. each was dignified with prayers and rituals and all properly laid to rest. family members given an opportunity to say goodbye and the sanctity of every grave respected. in 2011, my office was visited a by regime intelligence officials and i was ordered to work for them. when the regime asks for something you don't say no. i was not prepared for the horror of my duties. every week, twice a week, three trailer trucks arrived packed between 30600 bodies of victims of torture , bombardment and slaughter. twice a week three or four pickup trucks between 30 and 40 bodies ofen civilians executed in the prison also arrived for disposal in the most inhumane way.
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after seven years of bearing witness to these atrocities thank you to the god and the ineptitude of the regime, i could escape syria to follow my family to europe. they are not only my duty but my honor to testify before the german national court to seek a semblance of justice to hold war criminalsal accountable. i've never been able to forget what i saw. the countless bodies are buried. it keeps me up at night. i will never sleep soundly carrying this burden. these massacres are still happening. according to conservative estimates at least 150,000 missing and60 unaccounted for. families have no closure holding out hope for any bit of information. my heart is heavy with the knowledge many are experiencing inhumane torture at the hands of the assad
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regime. and t some you know exactly where they are piled in mass graves still being done today. i know this because others whoho worked with me have very recently escaped and confirmed what we haveap been hearing. the syrian people have suffered enough. over 11 years of four hundreds of thousands ofs innocent civilians not just executed but starved, tortured, raped, burned in the most a district ways anyone can imagine. men and women children and elderly. innocent people slowly tortured to death and screaming in the darkness while the world looks the other way. those lucky enough not to be in prison live in fear every day. fear of being targeted with chemical weapons, cluster bombs and band weapons. among those murdered are americans including journalists and humanitarian workers. will never forget how the
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assad forces ridiculed and laughed about the fact that they tortured and murdered and buried americans and europeans. as a leader of the free world, america should set the example to live up t to it. the international order depends on it. and the international community fails to condemn crimes against humanity, bombardment of hospitals and schools and genocide, criminal regimes will continue to push the limits unhindered. russia tested over 200 weapons on civilians by their own admission and international community looked the other way now these those same weapons in ukraine that they honed in the seven years waging war against the syrian people. where is the line? chemical weapons against innocent civilians was not the
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aline. but i fear the worst for the ukrainian people to put on —- have putin stop assets to hurt the russian dictator. we must finally learn from the past and out but this never again moment happen again. i lived with death for seven years and may seem unimaginable to you suddenly share some of the horrors that have never left my mind. one day one of the trailer trucks with hundreds of bodies dumped contents of dead mangled corpses into the trench in front of us. unexpectedly we saw a flicker of movement a man near death but still alive desperately using his last energy to signal that somehow he was still alive. one of the civilian workers
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started crying and saying we had to do something. the intelligence officer ordered the bulldozer driver to run him over he could not hesitate or he was next. he ran over the man killing him. and those who did dear to shed tears we neverga saw him again. once i was told to visit a farm of an intelligence officer. when i arrived there were ten senior officers eating and drinking alcohol and over 15 young men handcuffed and blindfolded and make it on the ground. one ordered the soldiers to untie the civilian and let them go. the blindfold in handcuffs were removed i remember the confusion and the fear in the young man's eyes. and officer asked what they
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were waiting for and he told him to run and he took off. then another officer grabbed his rifle and picked them off one by one. every last one was murdered and then the officers continued with their festivities. i buried so many children tortured to death and i remember them all. i buried her mother still h holding her infant to her breast as their bodies were thrown into the trench. one day i was at a military hospital where the bodies are processed before being sent to the mass grave and there is a body of a little girl only six or seven years. her lifeless body showed signs of terrible torture. the doctor took me asideoo and told me he was ordered to write that she died of cardiac arrest. but in reality she died as she
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was being raped by 11 intelligence officers. as members of the united states senate you have the power to change the world. by sharing my story i am taking this burden off of my shoulders and sharing it with you all. this is now on your shoulders. on your conscience. take heed of what is happening in syria. hundreds of thousands have h already been murdered and disappeared and millions displaced the worst is still yet to come. it can be prevented. but i beg of you do not wait one second longer. i beg of you to take action recently i was contacted by a bulldozer driver who worked at
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the same time i was there. a video we submitted i would like to submit for the record. thank you. >> i do believe that is the same video we asked for consent and it is included in the record. thank you very much. professor, you are recognized. >> good morning chairman menendez and ranking members and members of the committee. it is ann honor to testify before you today. it's also privileged to share this platform with the other individuals testifying and especially the gravedigger. the conflict in syria has continued over the past 11 years resulted in the commission of countless atrocities such as mass execution, rape, systematic torture and repeated use of chemical weapons against civilians. these crimes require prosecution from a global standpoint. in light of the ongoing conflict and ordering of
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atrocities, establishing accountability for those who commission whether in syria or ukraine has become paramount. accountability options for the prosecution of syrian leaders range from syria and the courts of countries under principal jurisdiction to the establishment of aof hybrid tribunal and prosecutions of the icc at the hague and senetherlands. first prosecutions in the courts of syria. assuming there is a transition of leadership at some point inn the future, a new regime may be interested in imposing accountability on individuals associated with the assad regime. were domestic courts have investigated similar crimes after a change from cambodia and colombia. if they were to occur the
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international community including the united states could assist syria by supporting the establishment of specializedsp internationalized those dedicated to atrocity crimes within the syrian judicial system. those chambers have been created in iraq, bosnia and piracy prosecutions in kenya. prosecutions of various national courts under principal your universal jurisdiction. it provides every s state the authority to prosecute a limited category of offenses regardless of where the offense occurred, the nationality of the perpetrator or the victim. crimes over which universal jurisdiction extends his work crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and torture. in the context of the syrian conflict some courts have relied on the principle of universal jurisdiction to initiate prosecution.
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on january 13, 2022 the higher regional court convicted a senior official for crime against life in prison and in february 2021 the same german court and the new case was being prosecuted and frankfurt germany. other european states have begun prosecuting perpetrators and some of the states include france and switzerland and sweden and the netherlands. the establishment of a hybrid tribunal are course i combined elements of international prosecution and a recent example of the tribunals include sierra leone and the special tribunal for lebanon. many have already advocated for the creation of a tribunal
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for syria to be created to an agreement from the united nations general assembly or through a security council resolution. those options are unlikely in the context but they are important accountability avenues and should remain part of any future accountability discussions regarding syria. prosecutions of the acc. the only permanent international criminal court located at t the hague and has jurisdictionnd crimes against humanity and war crimes and aggression. the icc is a limited option syria is not a member and this court has jurisdiction only where the alleged perpetrator is a citizen of a member state or if the alleged crime takes place in the territory of a member state. they can only launch prosecutions against those who have crimes of syria. a case can be referred to the
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security council resolution any subsequent is in light of the russian and chinese veto. it is a global accountability option and should continue to be explored and those that have recently advance with crimes committed in syria with links to jordan to create territorial jurisdictions for the court as a member state. as documented there is a pressing need to establish accountability for atrocities during the syria conflict as mentioned includes prosecution syrian port national level prosecutions under jurisdiction and thesi establishment of a tribunal for syria as well as prosecution at the icc. it is time the international community with support from
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the united states act towards accountability. imposing accountability is paramount in the wake of the ongoing conflict of ukraine and atrocities by russian forces it is crucial to establish all of those who ordered the commission whether they be locatedth in syria or ukraine. thank you. >> mr. chairman, first of all lthank you to the witnesses testifying today. they are hard to listen to but as we said before, when this is over, it is not over and important to keep this in front of everyone. i'm interested in the principle of universal jurisdiction. we are at the very early stageses i think probably for the first s time with
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prosecutions but i suspect this body of law will grow and but i believe it's not over to everyone is held accountable that should be. >> thank you for your testimony. ukraine is dominating the headlines that syria is theac place where the laws of war and accountability have been flouted for years. the assad regime and vladimir putin have made the violation of humanitarian law violation the norm and s in a failed to pursuing accountability for more than a decade after horrific violations. professor, i heard your exposition of the possibilities. one of the challenge a
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frustrating obstacle is the inability to take the perpetrators into custody with any legal jurisdiction can you explain why it's so important to pursue these legal cases beyond the overriding importance to the victims of these crimes at a tangible diplomatic benefits for perpetrators even when apprehensionon seems unlikely? >> thank you for the question. absolutely. it is important to pursue accountability. let me add that these cases in germany, and those particular cases the perpetrators were in germany. some sought asylum in germany they were and german territory then they realize they were there and could capture the moment and arrest
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them and bring them to prosecution. some of these are able to be conducted because the western european nations have found the perpetrators to be on their territory. even with the absence to capture some of these individuals it is important to establish the principle of individual criminal responsibility or for those who commit atrocities that it is the right thing to do but the international law has established the principle of responsibility forit those who could to the deterrent standpoint leaders don't expect they will take accountability someday be international criminal justicebi and many have faced accountability for their actions decades after to be
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committed so the importance to establish accountability because it is the right thing to do for criminal responsibility. >> finally to the. >> i believe the bravery of the victims in the witnesses and victims of the crime and those that were arrested in germany, and the bravery of witnesses that came forward is what help bring about the conviction.
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>> we appreciate the horrors that assad has inflicted on his own people. look forward to looking at the video even though i'm sure it will be consequential. the record will remain open to the close of business tomorrow. we are adjourned. [inaudible conversations] . . . .
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♪ american history tv saturdays on cspan2 exploring the people and events that tell the american story. join us at 8:30 a.m. eastern for our live coverage of the american political history at conference purdue university assist oriented authors from across the nation with an array of topics like energy politics, presidential scandal, on the history of redlining a public housing. 5:00 p.m. eastern reformer speechwriter epa administrator for george w. bush talks about the epa origin of the environmental politics and policies of the 1970s. exploring the american story. watch american history tv saturday on cspan2 and find a full schedule on your program guide. or watch online anytime at
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alexa are a lot of places to get political information. but only at c-span you get it straight from the source. no matter where you are from or where you stand on the issues, c-span is america's network. unfiltered, unbiased, word for word. if it happens here, or here, or anywhere that matters america's watching on c-span powered by cable. >> treasury secretary janet yellen told house lawmakers gas prices are norm is a problem and burden on american households and that we need to do everything we can to address that. she madet those remarks at a house ways and means committee hearing on the president's 2023 budget request for the treasuryo department.


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