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U.S. Diplomat: Stop “Dreaming” About Normal Relations With Assad

U.S. special envoy Joel Rayburn said that it is a “fantasy” that the United States will “walk back from holding the Assad regime accountable” as new U.S. sanctions hit the Syrian economy.

The State Department has issued its first round of economic sanctions on Wednesday under the Caesar Civilian Protection Act, which aims to hold Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad accountable for human rights abuses during Syria’s civil war.

Rayburn, who also serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Levant Affairs, told the Washington Institute for Near East Policy that the law is a signal to anyone “dreaming” about normalizing ties with Assad.

“It aims to foreclose any potential economic benefit from a so-called military victory” and “deny the regime access to international financial markets until a political solution can be reached,” Rayburn said.

He pointed to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254, which calls for UN-supervised elections, as the “roadmap” for ending the conflict so that the Syrian government “can be allowed to rejoin the global community and take part in the global economy.”

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