Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today on reports that the Trump administration will accept four more years of Bashar al-Assad’s rule in Syria:
“Nearly seven years into the Syrian civil war, Bashar al-Assad has the blood of as many as half a million people on his hands. With the support of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Assad has implemented a brutal reign of terror in Syria—including the use of chemical weapons against his own people—and secured his status as one of the world’s most murderous dictators.
“Recent reports that the Trump administration is willing to accept four more years of Assad’s rule in Syria are deeply disturbing. If true, this will only validate the de facto policy of two successive U.S. administrations that have failed to do anything meaningful to end the slaughter in Syria. Until the United States demonstrates a firm commitment to defending the human rights of the Syrian people and securing our strategic interests in the region, this humanitarian tragedy will continue to grow. Putin’s visit to Syria this week was yet another symbol of how the absence of American leadership has allowed Russia to step in and help fill that void—to the detriment of both our interests and our values.
“Assad’s continued rule will only lead to more violence and radicalization in Syria, and provide fertile ground for extremist groups to grow. U.S. policy in Syria should be clear: Assad must go. We must be willing to back that policy with a strategy for achieving a post-Assad Syria where Syrians can live in peace and security, free from terror. That cannot happen soon enough, and it certainly cannot wait four more years.”