US announces visa restrictions on Syrian regime officials

US announces visa restrictions on Syrian regime officials
The US has announced new visa restrictions aimed against former and current officials of the Assad regime who are complicit in human rights abuses.
2 min read
30 March, 2024
Miller announced the visa restrictions against Assad regime officials and their immediate family members [Getty]

The United States introduced new visa restrictions on Friday aimed at both current and former officials of the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, as well as other individuals implicated in the repression of the Syrian population through acts of violence and significant human rights violations.

State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller announced in a statement that Secretary of State Antony Blinken has implemented visa restrictions on 10 government officials and their immediate family members in response to their participation in severe human rights abuses.

Miller noted that the new restrictions serve as an addition to the visa limitations set in December 2023, which were directed at 11 officials of the Syrian regime and their immediate family members.

“We will not normalize relations with the Assad regime absent authentic progress towards a lasting political solution in line with UNSCR 2254,” Miller said.

“We reaffirm our unwavering support for the Syrian people, including in their ongoing peaceful demands for freedom and dignity,” he added.

This year marks the 13th anniversary of the onset of the Syrian revolution, which was initially peaceful before the Assad regime cracked down on protesters with military violence.

The civil war that ensued claimed the lives of over 500,000 Syrians, as well as displacing as many as 13 million. UN officials and rights groups have documented war crimes by the Assad regime, including the use of chemical weapons, starvation, deportations, sieges, arbitrary arrests, and vast networks of torture camps.

The country remains fragmented, with much of the north controlled by Syrian rebels and US-backed Kurdish-led forces. Since last year, the Assad-ruled Druze majority city of Suweida has seen revitalised protests against the regime, with protesters calling for Assad to leave power amid repression and worsening economic conditions.