Senate bill toughens sanctions against Syria

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called on Congress Thursday to toughen sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

He introduced a bipartisan bill, the Syria Sanctions Enforcement Act, Thursday, saying it was necessary to stop Assad’s “murderous regime.”

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“Now is the time to add to those sanctions to enhance and enforce them to ensure they encompass everyone helping Assad execute these massacres against his own people,” Blumenthal said. “It would ensure that those actors do not go unpunished.”

Blumenthal said his bill would go after Russian banks that are financing Assad and stop financial institutions from doing business with the Syrian president, who has been killing those opposed to his regime.

The United States has condemned the killings in Syria and has provided limited military aid to Syrian rebels.

Blumenthal said the United States should do more than just impose tougher sanctions. He called for more humanitarian aid for the millions of Syrians who have become refugees in the region.

“I remain convinced that the U.S. should take more action not only with sanctions but with humanitarian relief also,” Blumenthal said. “The U.S. should not stand by idly.”