Congressional leaders in both chambers are ready to roll out new sanctions on Syria, Al-Monitor has learned.

Written by Julian Pecquet, congressional correspondent for Al-Monitor

Differences in how to counter the Bashar al-Assad regime's Russian patron, however, may cause delays despite widespread bipartisan support for forcing the Trump administration to get tough on Damascus.

The top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs panel, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said he is getting ready to reintroduce legislation that passed the House by voice vote in November. The bill was named after a dissident Syrian army photographer nicknamed "Caesar"; Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told Caesar in a Dec. 1 phone call that he would do his best to get the bill passed, according to a source who was briefed on the call.

Read full article here.

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Michael Isakoff, chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News, releases a powerful video and story from first-hand experience with Syrian refugees inside Lebanon.

BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon — Families crammed into ramshackle tents. Children playing amid garbage. Their parents, bewildered and fearful — with no place to go.

That is life in Jdita, a settlement center for Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.

“What you see now is how we live every day,” says Hana Khalaf, surrounded by a half-dozen young children, her nephews, nieces and cousins, huddled together on the tent floor. “Life is monotonous. The situation is difficult. Imagine, you never know when your tent will catch fire.”

Her country has been on fire for six years. There are 4.8 million refugees from Syria’s civil war. That’s more than five times the number of Palestinian refugees created by the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. An estimated 1.6 million Syrians are in Lebanon, where most can’t get work permits due to onerous local regulations. Many of the children in Jdita have no school to attend.

So the families wait endlessly in their tents — for something to change.

But nothing does.

Read full story here.

 

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. hosted a public program, "Saving a Syrian Synagogue" on the evening of February 15, 2017 at 7PM EST.  SETF executive director, Mouaz Moustafa, translated for Rabbi Avraham Hamra, Chief Rabbi of Syria, and Aahed Sulayman, a Syrian man who sought to save the synanogue. Learn about the event here. and you may watch this event which was streamed live here.

The Syrian Emergency Task Force assisted in the efforts in Jobar to protect ancient Judaica and one of the oldest synagogues in the world. This work was covered by a Wall Street Journal article written by Adam Entous, who was also a speaker at the event. You can read his article here.

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