WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the author of the Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act, released the following statement Tuesday after Bashar al-Assad said in a speech to the Syrian parliament that he was essentially doubling down on the five-year armed conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and displaced millions:
“Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal with a callous disregard for human dignity. He can point fingers all he wants, but the international community can see the blood of his people on his hands.
“His speech today was an abhorrent example of self-delusion. Bashar al Assad has never realized that he has long lost the legitimacy to rule.
“I strongly encourage the Russians not to take Assad’s bait. They must resist the temptation to reengage in the Syrian armed conflict and instead recommit to a nation-wide Cessation of Hostilities that they themselves helped negotiate. The only option for Syria is a negotiated political settlement to the conflict that ends this utter tragedy that has befallen the Syrian people.”