Rubio Sponsors Legislation Extending Caesar Act and Further Isolating Syria’s Assad

Rubio Sponsors Legislation Extending Caesar Act and Further Isolating Syria’s Assad

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
September 27, 2023

Washington, D.C.- Senator Marco Rubio has introduced the  Assad Regime Anti-Normalization Act, to further isolate Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and obstruct bilateral relations. 

The Anti-Normalization Act aims to impose legal limits on the diplomatic discretion allowed to the Department of State when dealing with President Assad and related officials. 

Senator Rubio has criticized an allegedly growing movement within the international community to normalize  relations with President Assad given his poor Human Rights record. 

“We must ensure the U.S. does not grant Assad any sort of international legitimacy,” said Rubio. 


Among other measures, the act prohibits U.S. departments or agencies from recognizing or normalizing relations with any government in Syria led by Bashar al-Assad. While US-based humanitarian aid quantities to Syria will not be affected, the Anti-Normalization act seeks to increase oversight over such aid's final destination.  

Indeed, analysis and reporting on United Nations assistance diverted to the benefit of the Assad regime, including through currency manipulation, would be periodically investigated.

Former President Donald Trump’s Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019” (the Caesar Act) would also be extended to 2032.

The Caesar Act was enacted after a military defector under the pseudonym ‘Caesar’ published tens of thousands of photographs exposing Assad’s regime’s state-sponsored torture practices.

The Caesar Act prohibited cooperation with the Assad regime’s acquisition of goods, services, or technologies that support the regime’s military activities. According to the U.S. Department of State, the Caesar Act also levied the “full range of U.S. sanctions under EO 13894” on the entirety of the Assad regime and its leaders. 

Finally, individuals found to engage in or finance the obstruction, prevention, or disruption of a ceasefire or political solution to the conflict in Syria are barred from entry into the United States and from accessing its financial systems.

Rubio cosponsored a similar act by Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois last July, but the bill has failed to gain traction. 

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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