Robert Menendez

02/20/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/21/2020 15:40

Menendez Statement on Situation in Idlib, Syria

NEWARK - Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement regarding the humanitarian crisis and risk of escalation in Syria's Idlib province.

'The unthinkable horrors unfolding in Idlib, Syria have been years in the making. More than 900,000 civilians have fled from the frontlines since December 1, most of whom are women and children. The Syrian regime and Russian aircraft are continuing to hammer civilians and refugees trying to flee from increasingly smaller spaces. Many of those who manage to escape the attacks are succumbing to the Syrian winter. In the last week, more than a dozen refugees-including several children-froze to death after being forced from their homes and living outdoors in the ice and snow,' said Senator Menendez.

'For nearly a decade, Bashar al-Assad, with Russian and Iranian backers, has driven a devastating and unprecedented humanitarian crisis on his own people. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are trapped between the murderous Assad regime, backed by Russian airpower, and the closed Turkish border. And the rest of the world seems paralyzed. The Trump Administration has ceded American leadership in Syria to countries whose policies are fundamentally at odds with our own, and we are seeing some of the terrible consequences of that abdication of leadership. President Trump's green light to Erdogan to attack our Kurdish partners-who are on the frontlines of America's counter-ISIS efforts-allowed these three players to advance their own interests at the expense of hundreds of thousands of innocent Syrian lives. Now is the time for an immediate ceasefire between Russia, the Syrian regime, and Turkey. Now is the moment for the Turkish government to realign its security interests with those of the United States and NATO allies against the murderous regimes it is fighting on the ground. The Administration should reconsider its inhumane approach to those fleeing brutal violence and send a signal that we will stand with all those who are oppressed. The Administration must throw the full weight of American diplomacy into promoting stability.'