The United States has ruled out normalizing relations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the United States’ opposition to normalization with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday, despite growing support from Arab states who believe Assad has won the terrible civil war.
Blinken told his Israeli and United Arab Emirates counterparts that President Joe Biden’s administration’s Syria policy was primarily focused on humanitarian relief.
“What we have not done, and will not do, is express any support for efforts to restore relations or rehabilitate Mr. Assad,” Blinken said at a joint press conference, referring to Assad as president.
The US has not “lifted a single sanction on Syria” or “changed our position to oppose Syria’s reconstruction until there is irreversible movement toward a political settlement, which we feel is required and vital,” according to Blinken.
Last year, a US law known as the Caesar Act went into effect, punishing any corporations that collaborate with Assad as he tries to rebuild his country after a decade of war.
The Caesar Act, which is being supported by a wave of US penalties against Syrians close to Assad, intends to hold those responsible for human rights violations accountable and promote a political solution in Syria.
The United Arab Emirates has previously stated that the Caesar Act made Syria’s return to the Arab League problematic.
Individual Arab states, on the other hand, are warming to Assad, with Jordanian King Abdullah II, a major US ally, speaking to the Syrian leader by phone for the first time since the war began earlier this month.
Syria has also collaborated with Egypt and Jordan to transport desperately needed petroleum into Lebanon, where Syrian forces were expelled in 2005.
Syria’s war has claimed the lives of almost half a million people, displaced millions more, and aided the growth of the deadly Islamic State terrorist group.
Assad has destroyed the opposition with force and an alliance with Russia and Iran, but he still has no control over the northern provinces, which are controlled by Kurdish militants or Turkey and its agents.