More than four-dozen House Democrats are pressing the Obama administration to lead international talks and bring about a peaceful end to the crisis in Syria.
In a letter on Tuesday, 55 Democrats said that the U.S.’s policy so far has been ineffective at rooting out President Bashar al-Assad and bringing stability to the country.
“[I]t is time to devote ourselves to a negotiated peace, and work with allies, including surrounding Arab states that have a vested interest in the security and stability of the region, moving forward with both a peace plan and a coordinated assault against ISIL,” the lawmakers wrote. ISIL is an alternate acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“We urge you to take quick action on this matter,” they told the White House. “Convening international negotiations to end the Syria conflict would be in the best interests of U.S. and global security, and is also, more importantly, a moral imperative.”
Republicans have repeatedly chided the Obama administration for its Syrian policy, which many of them describe as toothless and ineffective.
Tuesday's letter shows that Democrats, too, want additional action from the White House, and points to the growing bipartisan frustration with the ongoing violence.
The letter was led by Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) and was timed to coincide with the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The civil war in Syria has entered its fourth year, and shows little sign of resolving any time soon. So far, the violence is responsible for roughly 250,000 deaths and an estimated 4 million global refugees who have overwhelmed neighboring borders and sparked a humanitarian crisis in Europe.
The political vacuum created by the ongoing crisis has given room for ISIS to take root and control large swaths of Syria and Iraq.
Global leaders have so far floundered on how to adequately respond to the crisis. The Obama administration’s efforts to support some Syrian rebels has been largely ineffective. The new challenge presented by the growing involvement of Russia — which, counter to the U.S., largely supports the Assad regime — has only further complicated the situation.
At the U.N. on Tuesday, President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin traded icy speeches about their differing approaches to the conflict. A 90-minute bilateral meeting between the two leaders produced little tangible results.