Biden urged to sanction Syrians involved in 2013 Tadamon massacre
A US congressional group that supports regime change in Syria has called on President Joe Biden to impose sanctions on key figures accused of involvement in events captured in a recently discovered video that appears to show the mass killing of Syrian civilians in the Tadamon neighborhood of Damascus almost a decade ago.
The Friends of a Free, Stable and Democratic Syria Caucus, along with Citizens for a Secure and Safe America, held an online webinar on Wednesday, attended by Arab News. During it, part of the graphic video — said to show the massacre of 228 Syrian civilians, including seven women and 12 children, on April 16, 2013 — was played.
According to C4SSA, an organization that believes a free, democratic and secular Syria will lead to a safer and more secure America, the congressional group sent a letter to Biden in which they urged him to “impose sanctions … against the individuals who have been documented to have participated in this heinous act of inhumanity. Those individuals are Jamal Al-Ismail, Jamal Al-Khatib, Amjad Youssef and Shafiq Massa.”
A devastating civil war broke out in Syria in 2011 in the aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed, injured or disappeared, and millions were forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in other parts of Syria or other countries.
The congressional group is co-chaired by Representative Brendan Boyle from Pennsylvania and Representative Adam Kinzinger from Illinois.
After the video was played during the webinar, Boyle said: “I feel sick,” and described it as “incredibly difficult to watch.”
It showed gunmen wearing military fatigues shooting blindfolded men whose hands were tied behind their backs. The bodies were then thrown into a large pit in a battle-scarred residential area.
Boyle accused the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad of a “genocide” against the Syrian people, and said it has resulted in 12 million people being displaced internally and to other countries.
“Anything that I say is going to be insufficient after having watched that, which shows how brutal Assad has been in the last decade,” he said.
The video shows only a fraction of the suffering the Syrian people have endured during a war that has devastated their country, Boyle added.
He bemoaned the fact that the international media no longer seems interested in Syria. “Our job here is to change that,” he said as he urged outlets to continue to monitor and report on events in the country.
Kinzinger echoed his colleague’s comments in denouncing the brutality of the Assad regime and the killing of innocent Syrians. A veteran of the US military, he said he cannot imagine how someone can pull a trigger and kill an unarmed civilian simply for demanding freedom. Assad and his cronies must be held accountable for genocide and sanctioned, he added.
Mohammed Bakr Ghbeis, the president of C4SSA, said his group is filing a report with the UN’s Human Rights Council calling for charges to be brought against the individuals shown in the video killing civilians.
“C4SSA has contacted the office of Dr. Morris Tidball-Binz, the special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary Executions, and will be filing the appropriate paperwork to begin the process of bringing those individuals and members of Military Intelligence Branch 227 to justice,” he added.
“We will not rest until the people of Syria are free to live their lives free from oppression from the Assad regime.”
Source: Arab News
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