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tv   House Foreign Affairs Hearing on Syria Policy  CSPAN  December 12, 2020 2:01am-4:58am EST

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without objection the chairs auorized to declare a recess of the committee at any int in our members will have five dayso submit statements and terial and questions for the record to answer something into the record is your staff e-mail the previously circulated address or contact committee staff go as a remind to members, staff physically psent in the room regardless of t position during the preceding except when a member or witsses speaking or trying to do both with chair viewshese measures as a safety iue and
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a matter of record for this proceeding the membe participating remotely keep your video function at all times even when not recognized the chair of those members are responsible for mung and then muting yourself. with those regulations staff only meal members and rest to eliminate background noise. we have a quorum forhe opening remarks this is likely the fal hearing in my final hearing as chairman. we had a hearing on the balkans region that is ar and dear to my heart wit another posterior that has been the foc of mine from the syria accntability act which became lawn 2003 with
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a c-retive 2012 this is the first legislative psonal to arm the pre- syrian armyhe opposition to aside from my time in congress with copies of both sides of thaisle and with outside groups to push ck on the murderous regime in damascus to support the syrianeople i have spoken more times iave count the last two years regarding syria and each time i cannot help but think there iso way you could get worse and then it es. to butcher civilians in the streetnd draw barrel bombs over shrapnel and class. isis takes over large parts of iraq and syria but berkeley raping and stealing and murdering the regime give
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ultimatums to people are so hungry they are eang the grass on the ground for china and russia apart humanitarian assistance from gettinto the people who need it the most. the trump administration cuts off to syria is to break off against isys or long-distance partners. i say enough that there has been too much suffering in the unit states go through different times to by our partners this is far from over and it connues to fter. sitting here is the ranking member of the committee surrounded by torture a violence from syria a brave military photographer smuggle
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thousands of photographs to give us proof syria killing machine the heartbreaking testimony compels us to introduce the serious protection act. this has the most beeping sanctions of the syrian regime. unless ty stop against their own people and take the sps the unitedtates must raise the price of their choices with the humanitarian community to ensure the act would not be good for humanitarian aistance to get to those former ball poputions and then to remember those pictures of dead bodies and people are tortured and killed there are horrific pictures they look like they came from the holocaust in germany during
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world war ii. they made me sick. we are making sure humanitarian assistance can get to the vulnerable populations. so becoming on last year the anniversary of the enactment prompted me to call this hearing today. how is it used in the conflict? with a more stable future for the syrian people. at a time when isys is constituting that won't be easy with a grand bargain geopolitical positioning. and military action.
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and on the path to a brighter future to requires fresh thinking. i appreciate the sentiment with the critical negotiations around the world don't get the syrian people. america is a haven for the rest more than a century ago the idea that only two generations later the grandson would be a member of congress to the chairman of the foreign affairs committee would only have been a dream to them but then again those dreams and ideas for generations i hope to demonstrate we cannot turn our backs on victims and i hope you can agreehat energy shows have this in our country. as well asther desperate people from around the world and the generosity and
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acceptance a last four years have shown us that. now you may have any opening comments you would like to offer. >> thank you mr. chairman this is like the last hearing and thank you for the respect to that you show the other side of the aisle in a bipartisan way knowing many members as those of the house i did my will address two of the house were like to see a bit i'm proud of our time together and record of schmidt i think the past more bills than any committee members congress can
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just about everyone on a bipartisan basis and i think that is a record national be part of, but especially you you have never this committee was stability, dignity as real clear politics say and i have common to see of partisanship it is a tradition of this committee as i have been on this committee 16 years and you have been on it for many more than that. want to say thank you for your service. we will miss you. but i know that you will be close by and most of all i have enjoyed our friendship together and that will always continue. >> thank you. >> we yield to me? >> absolutely. >> mr. recall want to return the compliment and say it has been an absolute pleasure to work with you and your staff
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to plus hospitals and do what is right for the united states and around the world. we like to say the foreign affairs committee we have said it is e most bipartisan committee in congress that i think we have been collected from different parties can and should work together after all we all americans will love this country we may have different ideas time to time but always remember people are not the enemies there able to me is in the united states around the world does not exisin the study were in the r-uppercase-letter anyplac else will conduct business and it's an portant to remember that because i have been here a while now, you only get to know people ssier on your
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committee will harm your home state. you just don't have much oppounity to get to know people sometimes you take trips them and you know them because of the trips around the world. sometimes you see them in the gym working out to buy a large they are n from your home ate, there isn't much interaction there re there isn't much interaction, people don't know them or they are demonized d the cycle begins again. grabbed onto tt on this committee and makes me proud you remember because we y very hard to do what we're supposed to do tt is to work for the american people and that is what we do. so again let me thank you mr. mcauliffe's been a pleasure to work with u and to be a colleague and friend of yrs.
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it's difficult sometimes life is promptly enough but i believe in picking yourselup talking with your head held high. last weekend i was ayour house for dinner. thank you williss chairman of this committee, and it was just a pleasure to move things with the committee so i thank you for the kind words and everything you do and i think evyone on this committee democrats and republicans, thank you for allowing me to be e chair in passing legislation to do things to make the ves of people better than americans better of this count and i'm
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so fortunate to be here and to rve in the united states congress. as mtioned in my remarks, my grandparents came here in oh seven. they had not come he and they stayed behind in europe almo certainly the perishe in the holocaust. so this country myook and my parents birth means so much when people say god bless america, i really say it to. thank you mr. mccall for everything and we will continue. >> think that in your style of leadership has been a model.
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new democrat and republican from the heart of texas can work so well together. but it is a model for the rest of the congress and your legacy server will continue. you have quite a legacy with this committee and you always be remembered i look forward when we get back to normalcy to have your portrait up. new democrat and republican from the heart of texas can work so well together. but it is a model for the rest of the congress and your legacy server will continue. you have quite a legacy with this committee and you always be remembered i look forward when we get back to normalcy to have your portrait up. >> we worked a lot to advocate on behalf of this hearing and with those photographs that was taken by caesar they are reminiscent of the holocaust. that is the reality on the ground in syria mr. rayburn i know you just came back from syria so in your testimony you
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had some good questions so mr. chairman we work together to pass legislation sanctioning turkey's invasion of syria to draw attention to the assault of civilians and support access for humanitarian assistance and those renewing ties with the assad regime and also the caesar act you worked for years to pass sweeping sanctions to the assad regime and its backers now we are seeing how they are crippling the assad reign of terror and working with policy that is republicans or democrats but as americans in human beings to protect innocent civilians. there is still more to begin and for starters we should stand by our allies to give more opportunities to succeed in addition he recently spoke with key people on the ground in syria who provided me with and updates they all said we need more support and we need it now. we went to find the best manner to do that and i hope we can get them relief they need as soon as possible
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encouraging members of the international community to refrain from diplomatic engagement with assad the world cannot accept temperature like assad the campaign know justice if business returns as usual want to welcome our guest here today we are pleased to have you and you will address how the administration has used the nctions and other tools to secure justice for the syrian people and work with assad and his russian and iranian backers the girl should be to stop the slaughter of innocent people reconciliaon instability and freedom chairman your tireless work ist the core of your legacy thank you for erything you have done on behalf of the syrian people
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for making the strugglfor freedom remain at the top of the agenda and this fitting it is the last hearing we have on this important issue with the humanitarian crisis and with that i yield back. >> i think my friend for everything you do itr witness today is the landlord the asstant secretary of state of is a special for syria witnesses testimony will be made up the record and i will now recognize you five minutes to summarize your testimony. >> chairman and ranking member distinguish members of the committee, thank you for inviting me here to testify about the syrian conflict today. one of the most dangerous crisis in the world both to a strategic and humanitarian again i want to think the
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children for his years of service especially his dedication to solving this conflict and his enormous work on the caesar scenario and protection act. it is a remarkable legacy and the syrian people know that and literally engagement that we have the term know as the syrians refer to the caesar act is mentioned. they know it is important they thank you for your work and the work of this entire committee. i just returned from a trip to the middle east last night during which i discuss the importance of the geopolitical settlement with our allies and partners will also spending time with local partners and the syria. for several years the vital national security concerns have led the united states to pursue the goals the
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withdrawal of all wing commander forces and a solution to this very in conflict consistent with resolution 2254. based on what i have just heard what we are seeing on the ground it is my assessment that each major goal is within reach in the leverage is growing over time. our adversaries the assad regime remains prior my the economic crisis of assad's own making the ability of the syrian regime to dictate the terms of serious futures weaning. that path is to the challenges the strategic situation today is encouraging an attempt done with diplomatic efforts by
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both the congress and responsible members of the international community a few words about the us approach to mention these goes. these objectives are best achieved by an action plan that includes those elements and first we must carry out a political process and a cease-fire as outlined in the security council resolution and second we should continue the counterterrorism campaign to preservehe coalition to defeat isys and press for the withdrawal of foreign forces not present in syria before 2011 the united ates has developed a broad coalition of ke-minded countries to accomplish his plan of actio and separate engagement pressure on such had come in addition united states govement will continue to work together american held
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hostage detned under those objectives. each of those goals i outlined above require sustained pressure to succeed. along with european union we apply economic pressure via sanctions against the syrian regime and its enablers the entire international community recognizes a strong bipartisan support from you leading to the pass of the caesar act legislation and believe me they recognize this as well thank you to determine for his leadership in the committee to make the caesar act a reality the since its adoption by the latest parties have been used for over 90 entities to use the position to support this war. alongside the economic pressure political pressure includes the civil society to remind the regimes atrocities
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with the syrian opposition on the diplomatic front we need efforts to normalization reconstruction assistance on the political process and we support the one led process roadmap in geneva and finally the military pressure comes in allied actions in response to us leadership of the group coalition to defeat isys and we continue to support the defeat isys operation of the partners of the northeast career clear there will be no peace or stability in syria until the violence ends the accountability for his atrocities in the process truly takes to meet the aspirations of the syrian people will continue to marshal all diplomatic tools to ensure the regime does not dictate the terms of this ten
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year conflict and brought to a close thank you for the opportunity to testify and i look forward to your questions. >> i give you your good work without objection placing into the record a statement from the syrian american council and americans for free syria. now recognize members five minutes each pursuant to the rules for the purpose to question the witness. because the high virtual format i will recognize members by committee seniority alternating between democrats and republicans if you miss your turn let staff know and we will come back to you seek recognition you must unmute the microphone and address the chair verbally because we start the questioning all-star by recognizing myself. as i mentioned in my opening remarks i introde the syria protection act several years
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ago as a response what we saw in this room thanhe pictures of all the dead people will ver forget it. with regard to human life and literature innocent victims men and women and children muslims and christians this legislation passednto law last december in the most sweeping sanctions on assad and his name on - - enablers. pot out the goal of the legislation is to pressure assad international support system to raise the cost of bankrolling other than one lebanese shipping company what
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has not be sanctioned under the sinks one - - the caesar act and in particular why have there beeno designations prius with indivuals who are so clearly and shamelessly ving assad a lifetime? and then to themy the administration is lking for more flebility the bar for the removal is very high requiring the syrians among them other things to stop the violence ainst civilians. a chemical weapons progr. to sanction non- syrians under that sanction act given by reason of bicameral support
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anthe full implication and implementation how can this administraon and then next administration to more fully utilize. >> thank you mr. chairman. concerning the question of non- syrians and targeting them under the caesar act we certainly will extend that designation in the future because we agree with you and understand the intent to supply the assad regime from
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international support i will say the caesar act had a remarkable chilling effect of those outside syria might otherwise have restored relations with the assad regime to do business with the assad regime so the caesar act has been successful in designating a large active so far and we have been surprised by that. and other words with the increased international economic relations and the dog that did not bark considering the question to make designations and to be honest there is no larger purpose
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behind that. with the state department and the treasury department and the intelligence community we carry out our designations with specific targets using the most efficient and the most expedient sanction authority. so we need to continue to accumulate pressure on the assad regime that will be the coach. that additional designation again i cannot specify specifically what sanctions will do in the coming weeks
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but we are continuing to do some and in fact we now have the interagency machinery so in finding the finance netrk that we need to target and see how thregime tries to evade patience and stay one step ahead and that is working very we. >> my time is running out and one quick question and it shows we are so ppy because this year draws to a close the assad regime supported by russia and iran and then with the syrian resistance and tt
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infrastructure of the northwest part of syria in the northeast turkey maintains its gold and gain that continues to harass which those of course have been vy loyal to the united states. anin and around northwestern syria d can you describe the extent of the devastation that human tragedy for me assad regime there? >> and its allies and then again surrounding regions and what we have seen in the last nine months is a military stalemate in the lebanese has
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brought to retake territory we saw that come to a halt when we ran up against the turkish military supporting syrian opposition groups in february and march of this year and we have not seen any indication that the assad regime can overcome that military opposition from turkey and the turkish supported group so there is a stalemate it doesn't mean conditions on the ground are good for civilians where the surrounding region. it is atrocious the assad regime continues against the military allies and this is why we believe the shore has to continue on the assad regime and with a combination of using our tools to apply
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pressure that there is no viable course of through a political solution to the un security council resolution. >> thank you very much before i turn it over ask unanimous consent to allow congressman greene of texas to participate in this hearing. without objection so moved. >> thank you mr. chairman welcome to congressman greene to the committee the family is a constituent of yours and very close to my district and home state of texas i will not ask more details but i want to thank the administration for your efforts because i know
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you have been working very hard for his release and we thank you for that. i want to talk about sanctions of what turkey is doing in the threat of isys was a chairman says we look forward to the sanctions to be to utilize to the fullest extent by congress. so with the northeast quadrant of syria the syrian democratic forces that have been called to lift sanctions. i don't know how you do that because it's all within the same country we can you speak
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to that are how do we help them to be successful to bring all of tse pockets of different ethnic one - - hnic backgrounds together in one democracy that see to be working and is in the oil opposition to assad spent the first observation is that we understand to implement the esar act that the focus is to be squarely on the assad regime and its enablers so we have no intention to release a designation that would harm our partners in the liberated territories of syria. >> so that they are not being applied? >> correct. >> and these turkish forces
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who are they and some are reporting wi former isys members. can you ed some light on that quick. >> congressman, the opposition by foreign groups that are supported by turkeyany of them are different elements of e fee syrian army and part of which has been organized more formally into the syrian national army which gives assistance from turkey and is
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focused on military pressure thassad regime and its allies and the resistance is northwestern syria some of been in northeastern syria but we see the same information that you have and then to raise that with the turkish counterpts and the syrian political opposition. >> so to lookt radical extremist to be honest and of course to work the del forces that's a real question
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they came in and worked with the kurds to crush isys that so we defeated isys. and theno see turkey go in and the pkk a designated terrorist organization within that but to seturkey come in and crush those very forces we worked with is disturbing as well. can you talk about the detention camps? and the threat of isys and i get reports aut these detention camps releasingsys members. >> thank you for raising this. those detention camps those who are known to be isys members the are detention facilities specialized with much greater security than a
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large number of those fiters many who are not from syria are from all over the world and ntral asia and that is a big problem. there are other camps for displaced people many of whom o have been on - - you have lead the campaign somewhere isys childreor the children of former isys families are a large number of women that were members of is that were held hostage there is a very large number of those and it's very conceing because the population as a whole is around 70000 people there are more than 30000 iraqis summer just shy of0000 syrians and those from other
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countries and it has been challenging to get the government of iraq and those other countries to coopera and repatriation of the non- syrian indiduals back to the countries of origin for a variety of reasons but the longer they stay in ria it is a big concern that a large coentration of people's vulnerable to radicalization and you would have children who might be exposed to radicalization and that could be a problem with the next potential caliphate with the often we need to urgently get a solution. >> it is very complex thank you for your testimony i yield back. >> thank you mr. chairman that are hearing yesterday i had a chance to pay tribute to use i
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will dabbreviated form today. it has been an hor to serve with you mr. chairman. i look forward this is apparently the last time i would be wt to ask my questions immediately after and this is the last time i can ask my questions and before the gentleman from queens. and then to restrict the authority to put forces into harm's way and under the 2000 was you amf going after al qaeda and presumably the proxy such as isys.
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but there are many interests in syria that might warrant, or might not, the use of our forces you have to wrestle with those from a policy standpoint but do you feel constrained at all by the constitution and war powers act to not deploy american forces in harm's way against any adversary that is not a deendent of al qaeda? >> m congressman, the answer is no go the legal use and syria have not changed and to be sufficient what we need to do. >> many things you may want to do in the next administration wants to do. if you say fight to protect
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the kurds is that something you can legally do and what is the legal authority? will not saying it's about idea but what authority do you have now? >> i hesitate with a hypothetical situation like tha that. >> is all we do is talk about hypothetical situations. >> is it your intentn to follow the war powers act? >> absolutely. >> there is the authorization tose military force to go after al qaeda the deeply that authorizes the administration to go after any enemy? there are many in syria, or is it limited to those that attacked us on 9/11? make it is the departments view the 2001 day you to provide legal authority required to use military force against isys with iraq and syria. >> against isys.
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but theris assad, ten and air to one and putin and erdogan. >> we also say we defend partner forces that are engaged in the campaign to defeat isys. >> is very different than attacking obviously e forces wherever they are to defend thselves. turkey has embraced some extreme elements of political islam forming alliances with those inspired by al qae and isys. to what extent is the british
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government working with al qaeda and isys forces the progeny of those two organizations in syri syria? spec i haven't seen signs the turkish government is doing that. >> you talked about recruiting mercenaries. >> so the way my team and i see and assess the situation and to be threats with turkey and the threat assessment and they share with us the goal that those forces are defeated in syria. i have not seen that turkey is sponsoring. >> working with someorces that trend ithat direction
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and i can see the support for yo assessment they aren't actually dealing with isys or al qaeda as an organization. >> we see a lot of actn between the forces i said free syrianrmy that was parof the support and some other terrorist ements that are on the gund go there is ongoing conflict between those all the time. >> i yield back. >> mr. wilson. >> thank you and to join with the rest of our colleagues is such a rare occasion that everybody agrees that indeed we are initiative of the chairman with his bipartisanship and the success you have that in congress and the caesar act goes on and on. we appreciate from a bipartisan standpoint i have the opportunity to ask i was
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on the delegation with the congressman to north korea and you bond when you go to north korea because you see the more and the destitution of north korea when the oppression of the people will what a visionary he wasn't from their went to seoul korea and then you see the contrast of free-market capitalism and the success and the democracy of korea. on the opportunity to serve together. but what a great example of success of free-market capitalism as opposed to socialist communism under the peninsula. you have the hardest job i have ever heard of as envoy to syria the american people need to see the map of what is occurring there it is startlingnd it breaks your
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heart to the refugee camps in jordan witthe extraordinary peop with those bizre circumstances so it could be a great danger to all of us as an instituti and the ability to expand in northern and central syria what is your assessment of the reconstitution of isys? >> thank you congressman the global coalition led by the united station achieved military victory against the caliphate. that removes isys from the battleground as a field army that could marshal resources. we moved beyond that phase. thing god in the same with
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iraq with great sacrifice all around. now where isys is still a threat and as a guerrilla force trying to reconstitute itself in syria and iraq under the syria with us military is directly supported by those forces we have not seen isys come back and read gain control of the territory but they do have clandestine networks that are intimidating people to destabilize the region to create an opening and i would highlight one otr danger that the assad regime and the iranian regime are now attempting a subcontract to isys to take action against the same democratic forces and the people of the euphrates river
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valley and it is nefarious activities. >> and the assessment of the current role in parities for the iranian backed forces and syria how is their presence evolving over the past year? >> ever since early 2017 we have seen the regime forces and syria stop taking part in the civil war between focusing to create a strategic basis for the iranian military forces and try to establish the power projection platform they can use to threaten serious neighbors. what we have seen over the last year of 2020 is that they have received a lot of military pressure from serious neighbors and cannot establish themselves to the degree that they would like to what they
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have not abandoned the strategic goal to turn syria into an iranian regime that they can u to those in respect to the entire rion. >> reporting on the caesar act e credit to the ranking member come is thereore that congress can do to back up sanctions against the assad regime? >> the authorities are good. those i can do a lot the department can use help w to build up the infstructure with the optimal use of the authorit it would be good to have more analyst and more bandwidth to do more sanctions all the time we got together asuch as we can and through cooperation with the treasury department we have worked very hard but i
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would like tsee in the future if congress could help t to increase the state in treasury department to do more of the sanctns. >> thank you m chairman we are very encouraged how positive you are if you for your service. >> thank you. >> it is now my pleasure to cause the gentle man he will be the next chairman will succeed me as chairman of this committe committee. we have beenriends and colleagues for a long long time that only here in washington but in new york where we both ride inow mr. meeks very well and works very hard and is smart and
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fair and has great knowledge of running a committee and all the hotspots and problems around the world. slammed delightedo call him mr. chairman and to work with him and make h a pledge whatever help he needs to me he will automatically get the look forward to him dog many great things for our country and r the world. it is my pleasure to call upon my good friend new york we have a lot in common with we bo grewp. it shows how america is a welcoming place and what people can do well and work hard to obtain certain types
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of goals to look forward to mr. meeks as sharon he will do an excellent job with my pleasure to call upon the next chairman of this committee mr. meeks of new york. >> thank you mr. chairman it is bittersweet for me so as a chairman and a leader like many others on this committee we will see each other quite frequently and i will need yo strong advice and encouragement as we move forward. i am not saying goodbye to you because you still hear a lot from me. what you have conducted this committee. in the way to keep the conditions moving forward
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which are very high standards going on for some of my colleagues of the geographic concerns they may not get to see or talk too often but utilize the expertise so this is just the flip not to see you in washington is often here on capitol hill and in the hearing rooms. when the lessons of how to do appropriate members so again i look forward to our continued relationship in regards to make sure these individuals in the greatest country of the
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world called foreign affairs clearly on the goodness around the united states and around the world. thank you for that. >> also let me think mrrayburn for your testimony here today so thank you very much there think for your service to our great country. is most colleagues have said when you look at russia the
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counterproductive actiony turkey and erdogan and so that we can never lose sight of the syrian people in the tragedy taking place there. so for me i believe in our multilateral approach. it is very important so to pull together our allies to be sure we are standing up for ou values and the opposition and indiscretions. in my opinion the administration has failed to stand up to russi russia. and the trump administration with the expanding settlement
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as we have indicated but there appears to be no discernible strategy consistent with the administration. my question is, what path forward is therefore the us and the united states congress and then to lead this to take place in syria. >> i agree with you 100 percent the united states in order to achieve particularly a political solution to the syrian
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conflict and un security council resolution 2254, we've got to continue to work with our partners in the arab world and those who are like-minded who share with us the judgment that in order to be a stable and peaceful syria but for own vital interest, there has to be a government in damascus that behaves differently for the region that is not hostile to the region around it and it's not hostile to its own people in the way that destabilizes. i agree 100 percent needs to be done on a multilateral basis and that is what i and my team are workg on every day. >> i don't know the amount of time but one other question dealing with the kurds what
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you can do in conjunction with the allies and then unexpectedly to pull the troops out to protect the individuals working with us whether dealing with the isys crises or the kurds, what can we do collectively to make sure it doesn't leave them subject to attack by others especially turkey? >> i think the best thing we can do to help our local partners who are working with us so closely in the campaign against isys is keep the pressure on isys and preserve the global coalition and
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continue to press the advantage in the campaign so isys cannot threaten the population that suffered at the hands of isys and with the diplomatic effts to keep the situation on the northern border of syria as calm as possible and to defuse tensions there so the focus can remain on the threat of isys and also emerging over the last couple of years of the iranian regime to carve out space. so that is the best thing we can door our local partners.
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>> thank you. i yield back. >> the gentlan yields back. again let me say to mrmeeks, i know this committee will thrive under his stewardship and i look forward to all good things continuing to come out of this coittee under his leadership. >> thank y mr. chairman and thank you for holding this hearing i don't think there's a lot of official business going on and i appreciate your interest in keeping important things on the docket during the waning moments of the session thank you for calling attention to the foreign policy priority facing the policymaker and the government of damascus to allow the iranian rege has pointed out in the witness testimony for the past two yrs the trump administration made strides to shore up policy including to the implementatio to work today gay isys however my objective today my purpose is
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to underscore despite the best efforts of bureaucrats working to undermine at every opportunity of like to submit for the record the breathtaking dereliction of duty the special envoy for syria. >> about objection. >>resident trump announced in 2018 and again in 2019 his decion to withdraw troops there is no ambiguity whether we agree with it or not that's why he's the commander-in-chief and why we have elections and onhe interview ambassador jeffrey said theresident never did achieve the principal
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objective because he undermined i and after listening to leave 200 soldiers in syria and is de abundantly clear there are far more than 200 troops in the country. the only issue is the president was kept in the dark about the fact. this is beyond unacceptable the president nes to count on a team of advisers to carry out his policy agenda with comprose security to have unelected bureaucrats break the law. eighteen us code 1001 states a crime to knowingly falsify cover-up by any advice f any material fact it should be a concern to anyone the
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president was intentiolly lied to while carrying out his charge that is vitally important locations for the future syrian policy and foreign policy as a whole. 's on the actions in the words of the president of the united states, my hope is my colleagues will join me to bring this matter to light that any and all appropriate legal remedies ensure the integrity of all counts to the duly elected president of the united states regardless of that is where from what side of the aisle they come from. mr. rayburn, are there any implication for national security on the unelected bureaucrats line to the president of the united states? >> the state department team
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from secretary pompeo to the lowest level have been diligent to execute the presidents guidance on syria. those three goals in my testimony were given to us by the president. we are following the presidents guidance throughout i respect and admire ambassador jeffrey. but what is characterized in the interview simply in my experience did not happen. the state department neither sets us force levels are responsible to communicate that to the president. that is the department of defense. >> are you saying he did not say that in the interview? >> i'm not saying he did not say that in the interview that i'm saying it did not happen in reality of e state department is not responsible. >> i didn't say you are sponsible but he said he did not follow the president's orders and there were more troops left in syria. i am asking if there are policy implications or otherwise statements for
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another elected bureaucrats makes decisions outside of the commander's intent quick >> in my experience i did not happen. >> one of them has to be alive but you dot know which one? >> i cannot characterize what happened in the interview conducted after ambassador jeffrey retired from the state department but i can say at no point did the state department misrepresent military in syria that is not our job. >> mr. connelly. >> thank you mr. chairman. can you hear me? >> yes. melissa with great interest
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to my friends concern of the misrepresentations made to the president with respect to the troop levels in syria. wish we had equal fervor and protecting the president with the misrepresentation of the newly elected president elect and the process were a record number of americans to participate in the free and fair election. but that is a different matter the what is the policy objective in sia you want to accomplish? >> as i mentioned, the three interconnectedoals are the primary focus with the endung defeat of isys and al qaeda and the goal to see all iranian command forces because of the destabizing role that they play and achieving a political solution to the
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syrian conflict under the resolution. >> so implicit with those goals, is a part of our objective? >> congressman, un security council resolution 2254 calls for a political process to result two different government in syria. exactly how that is constituted is meant to come from the syrian people themselves in the voice of the syrian people in the political process. >> are we confident there is a mechanism in the near future in syria that would accurately reflect the free democratic leadership? >> i think the mechanism outlined into 254 is the best
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mechanism we could hope for. >> well require to bring it about is for us to continue to employ the pressure tools to compel the assad regime and the enablers to come into the 2254 process that is why we are putting month by month more and more pressure on them and economic pressure military pressure to hold them to come into the political process. >> good luck with that. i don't see a lot of evidence that is working that is for different day one of those
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sort of the kurds have allies in the effort? >> those kurdish forces and some of them i said kurdish / mega have been important partners with the campaign against isys. >> wouldn't it be fair to say as a matter of fact the kurds for a long time for the only element on the ground actually winning thatat territory defeating them on the ground quick. >> and the campaign going on against ir and syria. d those at exactly the same time with a coalition and the kurdishnd arab and then to make those efforts on the two
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ends of the caliphate. and the squeezing of the isys caphate. >> and then enormously that important role, absolutely. >> at one point did not president trump decide to plot us troops? and with us apart from the kurds because they felt abandoneby the united stes vernment? >> and to maintain theupport with the syrian democratic forcesnd that is what is going on today i myself just two days ago was on the ground in northeastern syria with the counterparts and the forces and partners were continuing a very intense campaign in northeast syria.
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>> i understand. but i recall the time like those resignation and condemnation of policy it would seem it could be construed as and abandonment of the kurdish allies on the groun ground. >> ultimately, congressman the president again or support to the local partnership that abandonment didn't happen. i saw it with my own eyes just a couple of days ago. the relationship between the armed forces and i have a small team of diplomats as well with the same democratic forces remain vital. >> if i have any time
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left, how many refugees he been generated with the cascading crisis? >> we cannot hear you. >>here is more than 5 million and almost 6 milli it is more than 11 million syrians tha is half of the population that is displaced. >> your time is expired. >> how many syrian refugees have been allowed into the united states inin the last yea? >> i believe it is 481.
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>> 5 million and we have accepted 481? is that doing our fair share? i will and with that. >> will s that this administration has abandoned refugees and yet we have almost close the door going from accepting 5500 down at 481 last year and in this fiscal year a total of eight with 5 million refugees. i think that is scandalous and undermines whatever policy from syria. i yield back. >> thank you mr. chairman.
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let me say obviously syria is a huge tragedy and in hindsight we will look back and see things we shou have done and did not do that there is an idea that americans were fatigued in any involvement anywhere is over the top. but i remember early on with people using different examples of the us intervenes you will see thihorrible stuff happened and if we don't, it won't but this has been beyond our wildest horrible scenario innocence great world powers you are always on the edge of a conflict think about the 7 million refugees as you mentioned, that is a prime breeding ground for terrorism
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if you have noope for opportunity it's easy to be sceptible to somebody coming along the west is at fault here is extreme ideology and it's easy to recruit terrorist out of it. thank you for the chairman one - - to thehairman calling this but to push back against iranian influence in syria to have limited funds with the maligned influences can you talk about how the calculus has changed with the increase of sanctions against qassem soleimani? >> the regime over t last year since a strike against
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qassem soleimani it has been proved that the regime cannot overcome the maximum pressure we place upon them and the military pressure they put against theegime in syria in the way they hoped for but also we have seen ielieve the iranian strategy has failed what we have seen ov the last year h been demonstrated he cannot succeed because it cannot overcome the pressure from the israelis and the nior leadership remains mmitted to execute that strategy that has no hope of what they intended to do. so they continue to move in strategic weapons and try to control civilian territory and
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then to establish the outpost from iraqis and afghans and local syrians working for the iranian regime and to control territories to destabilize the local situation but also consolidate that strategic communication and to do that if any objective assessment tells us they cannot succeed they need to recognize reality th continued pressure so they give up the strategic goal to withdraw forces and abandon the strategy. >> it's interesting when you look at the qassem soleimani strike is different than the fight against certain terrorist groups if you kill a leader another one rises up in the situation i think qassem soleimani had unique influence
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and abilities and now they are struggling. you can e that in lebanon in every place frankly where iran has tried to have proxy and influence they have failed it's interesting the israelis push back against iran to close to their country and ria but the reality is iran is desperate and is much as i can understand my friends on the other side of the aisle with the iranuclear deal plugging into that only sends a lifeline to iran to continue the tragedy we see. i do have a bunch more questions but that conversation went long i appreciate the woryou are doing i appreciate the attention you have given to this there's a lotore the
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unites republicans and democrat then not and i hope going forward we can continue to mntainressure on a side and to understand the difficulties of these countries hosting these refugees have a so thank you for being here and i yield back. >>. >> thank you mr. chairman and mr. raburn for joini us today i want to take another moment to congratulate my friend the chairman at his final heang you have advocated for hold american world fostering bipartisan we were here focusing on the balkans and today focusing especially syria for the caesar's civilian protection act i value youreadership knowing you will remain engad in the future also i congratulate mr. meeks as chairman elect iook forward
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to working with all of you xt congress to help restore is globe leadership. marking the tenth anniversary the reign of terr to cause obstruction devastation to millions of innocent civilians the humanitarians tragedy will reshape the region for decades to come so to maintain that crisis to achieve us interest in the regn and to provide a future for the syrian people
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and with the irresponsible choice the decision made without coordination or the advisors leading to the resignation of secrery mattis made the american people less safe and reduce the leverage to duce the political outcome and in favor of iran and russia if we avoid a dead end in syria it is important we openly acknledge these and other mistakes and learn from them. your testimony now to end the conflict to hold the military force and also acknowledge it exacerbated the russians refusal to lean harder on a side so we have two different
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political processes to sideline in the us turkish sideline agreement and those that are meant to get assistance to those in need so what is the leverage at this point to jumpstart the process to protect the syrian people and produces peace rather than atalemate as the envoy cls it? >> the centerpiece of the leverage is at we have been able to do to apply enomic pressure to the assad regime and its allies we have seen over the past year what we have learned we cannot afford
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the shock o the economic and political pressure that the caesar act to gave uso at the same time in 2020 we learned the assad regime had the militaryherewithal to accomplish the military outcome with facts on the ground side have been encouraged it is awful but strategically speaking the adversaries of at the ceiling while our leverage has grown in particular with we could accomplish with the caesar act. >> what about designating russians? >> what leverage do we have with russia? >> we have a lot of leverage
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with russia most is what we put on the assad rege which is unrelenting because we have ouplans we know what we would like to accomplish. >> i appreciate at but one quick questn you noted the usill continue to wor every other american who is held hostage members of the committee stroly support those efforts do youelieve that occurs separately or as part of the diplomacy. >> so far the diplomatic
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engagement on trying to find out the status to get back with unjustly detained americans is carried out into play close supporting role that but that engagement has gone through that oversight. >> i appreciate that. >> thank you mr. chairman would like to reiterate the comments relative to yourself about your leadership a thank you for the many years of servi and dedication and commitment you have given to us regardless of which side of the aisle you are on your treatise with tremendous respect and deference and your what a chairman should be and that's what you get so much praise and pull sides you deserve and we wish you the best in the future i'm running
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out of superlative is to use but they are all heartfelt you are a great friend and even though you are a democrat i am a republican i consider you a tremendous human being and i wish you the best. >> want to focus on the situation the pronce that is precarious at best with those displaced people that are the target of assad bombings what can be done to prevent assad from containing or committing further atrocities quick. >> thank you congressman we make clear with our engagement with the russian counterparts and with others that are political and economic pressure in addition to
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pushing for political session on - - solution it is also meant to deter the assad regime from continuing the brutal war we also signal support for what turkey has done militarily on the ground to use the turkish military force stopping the assault from the people living under those horrific conditions it is a combination of the two and the support that we can place in the turkish military pressure. >> if you know the us and rkey about designated the pkk as a terrorist organization. how do you assess statements from the syrian demratic forces durin a recent interview plished on november 2h mentioning the role of
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thousands of trained foreign elements within the ranks with ongoing consultations on this issue? and at what level? >> we absolutely believe it is constructive step for all rties in northern syria. part of reducing tensions is a non- syrians need to leave syria. . . . .
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trying to get foreign elements toeave syria. >> i probably have time for one more. coul you discuss our efforts to provide military and asstance that the people of northwe syria and wt kind of coordination mechanisms are in place with turkey to accomplish that? >> thank you. we have a lot of ordination mechanisms. i have a team, a start team that helps oversee the implementation of the u.s. the delivery of laissez programs into northern syria where the need is acute. we work with counterparts to do that and overcome the bureaucratic logistical hurdles becae it is essential for those people. >> i do have time one more. essential aspect that y
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already talked about sanctions on the syrian central bank, both far, the bank has not been sanctioned, when do youxpect progress onhat? >> the central bank is the treasury deparent which has to make a determination about the qualifications of the central bank under the provisions. i don't have an answer on when they will complet the work on that but i know it something they have been worki on for months. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you for your extraordinary leadership committee, a principal voice american global leadership
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around the world and you have promoted bipartisanship about this committee national government and i want to say thank you. congratulations, i know a great leader of this committee. thank you for your dissipation. thank you for being that i want focus on russian and turkish involvement. march 2020, putin a he reached an agreement and i wonder if you could tell me, what i the status of that to what extent is the u.s. able to monitor the
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movement in the areas? how much longe do you envision is? is a lot of talk it could collapse at any moment. >> thank you, a very important issue you're talking about the agreement was reached between russia and turkey that was an important part in it which was clear the regime had to abandon their major, it was important we saw military balance against the assault regime in northwest syria. i would say it's been tense but roughly durable, we have not seen the regime attempt to return to major offense in the intervening months. i think it is because they recognized suffered a significant defeat at the hands
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of the military. so i think they cannot tingle. tingle with the partners so i don't expect the regime to try to upset that agreement. in terms of the fermentation and agreement between the russians and turkey, some of that we are not ready to what we have seen what i think, it is clear the assault regime in russia after a military solution conflict was rendered irrelevant to that. >> is increasing cooperation between syrian forces and the most anti- isis and russian
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forces. what is the adminisation doing to move away from it, is that. >> i think you are on. >> since october 2019 northeast area at that time, there has been coordination between the democratic forces and russian forces and even a soccer team forces and parts o north eastern syria where the military no lonr located. what we would not like to see is it turn out a political agreement between -- >> want to get one more question really doing anything to move away from the?
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>> , we maintain our partnership with the sts and are the indispensable partner. >> i take it that there is not a specific effort underway jt want one last question. you mentioned it was built to have about 10000 people but is 70000 people for the last two years. 90% are women and children. there have been, the conditions are horrific 500 people at least last year i would just like to know more about conditions we are doing and continuing to administer this, what is the situation with covid concerns of
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the radicalization in those conditns, could you talk more aboutspects forontinuing the conditions there and whether things will improve? >> sure, there is a problemnd it is very challenging because the medical conditions, the infrastructure is rudimentary so it is aroblem. more help is needed for local authorities to try to tackle the covered problem so it is to the overpopulation, the very densely contained. they will admister and secure, it takes an enormous amount of resources. the best tng is to try to
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first and foremost by letting people so those who don't post a list who are syrians, where possible go to the local unities afterhey have been closely that it and they are working on that. there are more than 30,000 iraqis thateed to be gone to iraq. there is n yet a fully working mechanism to makehat happen andhat needs a lot of attention, dlomatic energy in the future for the several thousand who are from europe, north africa and other cas nationally, it is very challenging government t accept citizens so thats something we ha to apply for energy to
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reduce that in the future but bottom line, problems are very difficult the best answer is to do as quickly as we can. >> sentiment time is expired. thank you. >> thank you i want to add my voice to the chorus of those expressing their respect for you, bipartisanship, your leadership and grace. i wish you and your family all the best i know you won't be a stranger to this committee for any service to our country. i also want to thank you -- >> thank you. >> my pleasure. i think the chairman in particular for his work on the protection act.
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critical legislation that has given me the tools them accountable i was horrified last year when turkey initiated a military in northwestern. i believe the united states has a duty to prevent genocide. i cannot regroup and ensure the position of u.s. forces to promote stability in the region. more than a year after these fire resulted in the withdrawal of democratic forces for how has it affected the situation on the ground all cereal, particularly the safety of our partners? will.
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situation in october and november 2019, it was very challenging one. very difficult. we were able to produce an agreement the government of turkey to observe these fire in syria whether military operations and the cease-fire has been durable, it is tense situation. we see occasional flareups along the line we have not seen major pharmacist has been your interest, it is not in turkey interest a renewal of it distracts both sides away from the major problems syria which are the assault regime, isis, athletic, iranian regime and so on. we have been able to continue
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the campaign, the coalition has continued efforts hasn't been a resurgence, they continue to act as a network have not seen resurgence. something that has complicated our task in northeast syria over the past year but we do our wo work. >> i have a couple of questions assault seems to reject negotiated and civil war, believing it achieves a military degree in the forces. russia is not putting sufficient pressure on asad to convince them to participate seriously in any kind of negotiation. in your view, doesn't undermine
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and what leverage does the u.s. juni the negotiation? >> that is a good question. in our view, it was meant to be cease-fire form. >> that's a dead form, there is no political solution that will come out of this and that is why we spend our time applying pressure to asad and its allies to compel them to come into the only viable form that exists in geneva. i think we can get the it will take more pressure, more actions under particularly this act and other authorities but i think we can get the.
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>> assistance ensures our efforts will accountable for not hurting the people who have already suffered so very much. at the same time, must prevent them from economic pressure. i understand russia and china are using veto power to final aid through. how is this complicating are ability? >> you got it right. it is very difficult. a lot of the assistance that we support comes across the border. it doesn't go through the syrian government in damascus. the russians would like to compel everyone to do the answering assistance working through damascus. we resist that exercise oversight over the humanitarian
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assistance. we support assistance throughout syria and even in areas the regime controls but is something we have to watch closely we need to work more closely in the future to guard against, being able to divert away from the syrian people and it would benefit from, it's a problem we need to watch closely. >> thank you for your service. i appreciate it and i yield ba ba. >> thank you. >> thankou. ank you for all your work, i have enjoyed working with you. i hope to continue. the chairman worked with me, thank you to establish a coordinator for isis detainees.
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the regional and internal security forces, roughly 12,000 isis militants in custody and roughly 2000. you update us on the status of and with confidence these prisoners, dangers isis and foreign fighters they are secu secure. >> it is a tough problem they are secure right now but there is always danger. the longer they are on the ground, there is a danger that they could overextend and other local security forces have to try to guard and secure them.
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the answer, the same way it is throughout, the answer is the foreign fighters process in getting them back to their home countries. >> other efforts in place not only detainees but also refugees to inhibit coordination and further radicalization of those individuals? what is being done in that regard detainees and also refugees? >> i would say there is not enough being done. when i was in northeast syria talking to counterparts and local partners, the recognition that there needs to be the radicalization campaign not so much the foreign fighter facilities but more, displaced
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population our threat population, maybe people not necessarily in the radicals but needs to be an effort to help with the radicalization efforts there. as far as refugees, that is an enormous problem that needs to be more attention to that different in each because refugees spread out over so many countries. >> it is an ongoing concern and i hope some of the support we have the ability to deal with an important issue, i hope the administration can work successfully so they can go back to their own countries to seek justice. ongoing concerns that i don't think help as we go back some of the two the area.
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>> thank you mark green. >> thank you for your work on this. wish you the best. ranking member, thank you for your comments, to i want to start my comments with the navy. i started my company, my medical company in florida where i met a physician. he had grown up in syria this was 2007 -- 2008 timeframe and i got to know him and he convinced
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me i should drink the syrian medical society and to teach positions in the country. the early part of 2011, i began lectures to deliver, i was excited to go. he shared with me the city were muslims work together in peace, he described it, citing examples were muslim families would babysit the children of christians while christians did christian festivals and services and vice a versa. it was an unbelievable city. my friend calls me a few weeks into the summer and says are you still going to syria? i said i think so and of course it deteriorated, continue to deteriorate and i wound up not going but for comes and destroys
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the beauty of that duty, a precious the people of that country. unbelievable, horrific isis, president trump u.s. military has created this unbelievable situation for russia and the syrian government are now in this and it's probably the hardest foreign policy challenge of the united states. 9.9 out of ten. clearly he is a butcher and following in the line if you go and study is following in the
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footsteps of his father. the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. if you click questions, most of my questions have already been asked by committee members, i just wonder you could talk about russia's long game, what their footprint is today and their long game and plans on what they are doing. >> thk you. the russians haveeen there for a long time. they have ailitary presence going back to the cold war half-century the russians had a naval base there close the ship the syrian military but we would like to see is all the forces nothere before 2011 to go home. there is no political solution
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and makes it so they have no rationale to be the, us includ included. as far as what the russian are doing there, to be honest, i think the russians now since 2015 have been trying to enable us on to win military victory that he can't win and they can't lift up and carry over the finish line. the syrian regime military, the gime is too brittle and easy to break. what is the long-term game? it is not clear to mehat there is a vble one because of the path ty have been on. the path for the last four or five years has a dead end and thers nowhere for it to go. to be honest with you, i think it is time for a reality check to realize that can only be political solution, theyre not going to get that.
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>> thank you for that and i am essentially out of time. thank you for your comment. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to acknowledge the chairman final and thank him for his tireless commitment to this committee. we share neighboring districts. he's been a wonderful friend and mentor to me my first two terms. while in the state senate, i represented his home district so our friendship is deep and evaluate and i wish him all the very best. my question is, despite the threat refugees to return to syria, neighboring states like
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lebanon and turkey have hosted thousands of refugees since the beginning of the civil war in 2011, are increasingly calling on them to return home. reports have emerged that syrian refugees are being forced to return for both neighboring states including hundreds in the late 2019 year, documented by international areas lebanese press reports throughout 2020 this is from syria and lebanon, very well documented. can you provide an update on the latest on these refugee returns? >> thank you for raising this, that is really important.
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i think turkey shares a fundamental position that refugees have to be safe, voluntary and dignified and there has to be an independent condition on the ground for people to return. in lebanon, we had a challenge with that we have seen them try to remove the voluntary out of the formula and there has been great deals of pressure on syrian refugees time to time to force some of them to go home. we have tried to make it clear, engagements with lebanese counterparts, it is unacceptable refugees of any kind go back to syria. >> is a safe going back there? are their lives in danger what is the status.
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>> i think you can say the situation is not safe for people who would like to return home. simply put, the assad regime has not ended its war against them. th is the start, if there are thoseonditions on the ground in syria where people feel safe enough to voluntarily go back. >> what does it take to work with them as well as muilateral organizations, like the un to prevent these forble returns could lead to the deaths of many of these refugees? >> we have to look at -- there are avenues open even in terms of economic sanctions, certain political pressure but weill issue warning, if we see that kind of activity beginng, we will issue warnings those
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countries. at the same time, it is incumbent upon us to continue supporting the countries have very meager resoues and bearing the burden and pressure of having to host a large refugee population, help them with resources to make it so they c bear that burden better better. >> let me turn quickly, i think we can safely say that although throughout the decades, united states applied a range of anxious to syria and that government. it hasn't been evidently changed behavior, what makes tse different? >> the season sanctions, first of all, i love it, someone who implementing them because not only doesn't mean that we can use the prongs, it means
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everyone we designate under any syria authority, it's secondary sanctions that is was really powerful because it isot just the people business or organizations we sanctions directly, it's anyone who does business with them are interacts with them is vulnerableo sanctions as well and that is where we get the real power of the caesar act. i think you're seeing things change in syria. the syria regime did notream would be end of020 and have its courtesy passion. it is resources they used to fund its people, it is dwindling and i think the caesar act has played a centr role in helping bring back situation about but i think things are changing and you will see that in the coming months. >> thank you.
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okay, we'll move on. >> here i am, can you hear me? >> i can hear you fine. >> thank you so much. i want to start by expressing immense gratitude to you for your service to this nation, this house, this committee and your mentorship and friendship, i will never forget coming to congress and the chairman of the
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committee's one wants to serve on, not only for you gracious and spiteful of me as a freshman but your enthusiasm for the work of this committee and the intellectual depth you bring has been real inspiration to me so that is something i would take forward with me. i am really grateful to you for all that. >> thank you. >> let me ask about chemical weapons. earlier this year, the administration reported, and i important, we believe regime, reestablishing weapons, production capabilities lost in the course of the conflict and we continue to see document activity in support of its chemical weapons in this progr
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program. so aside from thinking individuals, what is the state department doing to respond to a renewed chemical weapons program and is there a diplomatic strategy? >> yes, there is diplomatic strategy and i began summarized in building and international consensus, a coalition of like-mindedountries to use their pressure, political, economic, whatever kind, law enforcement to hold the syrian regime accountable for not just for capital weapons used this real danger the syrian regime retains ambition to reconstute its chemical weapo arsenal. right now, resting on the diplomatic side, i think the most important form underway right now, where me and other
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likeinded countries are going through a process following a ultimatum tohe syrian regime to come clean about its chemicals weapons use and its program. if not, to be on the danger. >> so would you say this is the good example of the importance of multilateral institution and u.s. working collaboratively allies to achieve our foreign policy goals? >> absolutely. >> okay. that's good. i hope will emphasize our work with other countries and not take the loan approach. let me ask you about the humanitarian situation. as of this fall, roughly half of
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syria's population remains internally displaced. 6.2 million people registered as refugees in neighboring states nearly 80% of the remaining population is below the poverty line. the u.s. has directed more than $11.3 billion toward syrian, syria latest humanitarian assistance. congress is appropriated billions morrison for security initiative in syria and bring countries. what is the humanitarian assistance strategy givingire circumances in syria right now? >> when we bring it up today, we are over $12.2 billion humanitarian assistance the u.s. has been generated for syrian people since the beginning of
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conflicttrategy right now is to continu the humanitarian assistance flowspecially across the border into northern syria. right now, w are in the middle of workingith you and agencies and other managing providers to do the transtion because of the onset of winter, harsh consumptions are awful. over the last seval months, we are able to put together assistance for syrians inside and oside syria $141 million to address particular emergent needs brought on by the covered pandemic which has hit syria ry hard landing in the comin months will see us, would have to respond to russian pressure to reduce the capacity, reduce
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mandate to cro for assistance i think what you will see is continuing to work with like-minded countries blocking ways to have a mandatory and assistance continue enduring into liberated territories at theame time we watch for nations containing the covered pandemic in syria. i would say those other two areas ght now. >> thank you. >> time is expired but it is difficult to say it's the last time but with gratitude, i get back to you. >> thank you. i appreciate that. thank you so much. >> thank you. i join in the comments of my colleagues about your service, it is a great honor to be on
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this committee with you. i'm going to loop because i am about to run out of charge and i apologize for that but i will go ahead, i wanted to start with mr. rayburn following up on what you just asked about without restating the obvious all of us are aware of in terms of the terrible suffering happening syria, i want to know if you believe we should reevaluate sanctions policies. in light of the unintended effects the sanctions are pretty have in areas controlled by the thought regime and a follow-up, what steps is the administration
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taking to help alleviate the hunger crisis syria? >> thank you. the beginning of 2020, united states has spent $1.7 billion, we have stepped up contributions. at the same time, he have made clear diplomatic engagement and cil society, communities that there are specific carveouts to sanctions programs so that weo not constrain humanitarian assistance on the ground. for things like food production, the asad regime has undertaken alongith allies of propaganda campaign to claim that we do but we have clarified invery portunity, we don't sanction that kind of activity people and businesses and oanizations
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sanctiing under the program right now are the worst o the worst of the entourage and they are not doing anything. they are not doing anything to alleviate the suffering, they are causing the suffering so under the season act, to put prsure on them so they wil stop killing and inducing the suffering of syrianso i think they put it upside down. >> so how much insurance do you feel the humanitarian aid the u.s. providing actually getting to the everyday syrian? >> i think we can be more confident in places where we have access, northeast syria for example and places where we have partners with more access.
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less confident in places asad regime controls. there's always a risk of diversion but it's something we stay in close touch with two guard with, things like asad regime, being able to get subcontracts using companies and things to implement assistance that they divert into militia and. >> going to switch gears, i am running out of time but i want to return to the issue jeffrey and statements he made, specifically in an interview last month, he said we are always playing games and the troops we had for, is that accurate? what is the actual number in syria toy?
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>> in terms of the actual troop numbers, i would defer to the defense department, on tt. for example, simply put, troop numbers are beyond the state department. mentioned this earlier in the hearing, the state department from secretary pompeo on down has been diligent in executing the guidance of the president and in my experience at no time did the state department characterize military posture syria. we had no reason to do that. responsibly set forth levels or report them to the white house so as far as i know, that did not happen.
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>> thank you. time has expired. >> thank you. i don't think this is goodbye, i think that we will talk and see one another. thank you for being such a good mentor to me and so many others. my question has to do with the statement about syrian refugees. he said unless the international community finds a way to the integrate into home communities and support locally grown ways, we are providing ourselves a problem ten years down the road when the children of radicalized. if we don't address it now, we will never defeat isis so, do you agree with his assessment? what role has the state
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department played in this? what role should they play in this. >> i do agree with the assessment, i do think the number of syrian refugees and displaced people outside and inside syria is immense, a population level two radicalization in the future and something that has to be addressed. the number one way to address it is to end conflict or literal solution under resolution 2254. refugees can go back home month that is the single greatest thing to do. in terms of specific goods of refugee and settlements, camps, especially inside syria, we work very hard to encourage
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repatriation, back to their countries of origin which is hard because a lot of the countries of origin are not open to taking them back so it will take diplomatic energy energy, we have to redouble efforts to press those countries, to take their people back. some of them are not good people. some went off and joined out isis or al qaeda so they are a danger. it is doing no good for anyone to remain in syria. >> we are talking about isis and al qaeda, how do you envision reconstruction, specifically the role of the u.s. plays in the effort and also what lessons have we learned from afghanistan or what about the lessons we have learned?
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how should the lessons be applied in syria? >> concerning reconstruction, another term, another way of saying normal economic relations between the international community and syrian government, we withhold that and press others withhold that until the syrian government has exceeded to the implementation to the political solution under resolution 2254. until there is irreversible progress in the political process, the united states should not contribute to reconstruction in syria and we shouldn't encourage it, we should discourage others from doing so, keep the pressure on syrian government. i think you are probably meaning about the different studies do done, reconstruction wound up in corruption and so on. i think it is a problem that
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will have to be addressed when the time comes and we have to watch out for for sure. so it is a problem. it is a problem i would like to have the is a better problem to have been having so more in syria ranging fully so if we get to the reconstruction phase, it should be the political solution irreversibly and lamented and the war is over. >> i only have a couple more seconds. he spoke about the pressure other than sanctions, what other leverage could we use to help the syrian government find their way and have other allies and make progress in this area? what leverage do we have? have a half minute. >> political isolation and
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accountability including through law enforcement or international law enforcement isolation has to remain the syrian government has to remain isolated from the international economy, international community until it exceeds 254. >> i yield back. thank you. >> thank you. are you here? okay, we will move on. >> i am here. >> thank you, sorry, i was use it. first of all, i want to add my wordsut you have received, it
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is an honor to work with you. somebody mentioned there will be a portrait of you hanging in the committee. many former chairman hanging, very few have had treats named after them and countries like the united states has helped us you have been honored. since it is the last hearing of the year, i want to say thanks to everyone i have had a chance to work with one the chair committees. members on the republican side who i have partnered.
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members of the committee staff, it is helpful to me. so many others in this. i just have a couple of questions on the subject of today's hearing. i think a number of members have raised all of the problems that have arose, affording the decision to withdraw troops from syria and leave our allies in syria on alert, so to speak.
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decisions the administration made to basically stop funding for which we do have access including seeking additional funds from congress. i think the argument was made, money from saudi arabia which has different priorities and different use from the united states. my first question is where the plan is in terms of contribution, stabilization, those areas in which you recommend the next administration, the role on the military side. >> thank you.
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we are in the stabilization phase in the campaign against isis and eastern syria and iraq as well this includes military stabilization but also the establishment of essential services to get the communities of on their feet. we do contribute as well with humanitarian assistance and stabilization product syria to date have total about $1.3 billion has been included, contributions for our adult partners that contributed $100 million, $50 million that were used across 2018 and 2019. those for u.s. programs so not independently executed by them so they went according to our
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priorities in front of our politics. stabilization activities like that needs to continue and we will continue doing what we can from the u.s. side but also solicit partner contributions as well. there have been a number of activities that continue with our partners in the level coalition as well. >> thank you. this final question with the little time i have left. we are all concerned about the humanitarian situation ordinary serious. he began to address this but to what extent, how would you make the balance in terms of responsibity for suffering ordinary civilians in damascus that brings sanctions and policies and corruption?
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>> we have to continue the pressure we are applying and target that precisely as possible so we sanction the parts of the regime, that we need to sanction in such a way that it doesn't have that effect to army syrian people but as i mentioned earlier, the single greatest thing we can do to end the suffering is hold the asad regime accountable so they have to stop the war and exceed to the political solution in a meaningful and irreversible way. they are still bombing people, disappearing syrian people into the presence rightow and that is the major suffering right n now. >> thank you.
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>> thank you, chairman. thank you for your testimony today. in august, american shell company has gone an unusual license to export oil. the company is closely connected to a cerin yes politician and alleges met to talk about this deal. can you tell us why he m with him to discuss this deal? also, did you meet with him to discuss oil deals with any other american companies or only the one for this particular prominent donor? >> speaking about the license issued to energy to help local northeast syria to raise efficiency of the oil
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installations are partners control? we supported that. we issued foreign policy guidance, we supported it because we support trying to get the economy of northeast syria up and running to the extent that it can in the present conditions of war across syria so we thought it was a good thing or not just u.s. countries but others to help local communities get back up on their feet. we are talking about the communities victimized by isis, and the heartland of the state so when you go through, they are completely blasted from years of work. they need everything. for them to be able to use resources -- >> did you lobby for this deal for this particular company? >> no, we didn't lobby -- we
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didn't lobby anyone for the deal. >> you had a discussion about it? a meeti? >> yes, we have met with members of t company and local authorities. >> yomet with mr. -- >> yes. >> did you discuss deals for any other american cpanies beside that one just that o deal? >> tt i was involved in,es. >> the reason i ask, this is a hugeonor two important u.s. politicians. iill editorialize a little bit about knowhat there is too much dispute for many ericans, we are leaving a dark period of corruption, some cases from, that has been the other way and even encouraged by the trump
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administration in some cases so that is t genesis of my question. >> i don't have any visibility aspects. this was straightforward issue of issuing foreign-policy license request which we do routinely. >> okay, i will ask mentoring questions really quick. they are no longer facing active fighting, the humanitarian situation has only worsened. more than half the syrian population needs assistance. un announced earlier this year that beginning people are food insecure, and all-time high. many report meeting six hours of bed, if they can afford it at all. you said the administration has ensured sanctions in syria not impeding essential assistance to the syrian people, it is commendable and certainly they have actively subverted military
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aid. still, most working on the ground safe sanctions are actively hindering their ability to deliver assistance to the syrian people. my question is, what, if any, will you take to reduce the humanitarian impact of our sanctions are you willing to allow them to transfer money and purchased supplies from them? >> we already do that. there is the problem with over compliance with banks or other institutions over comply, we try to work with treasury to clarify that. they have issued guidance over time explaining what is permissible and what is not so i'm confident we are makin headway there. when we get specificnstances
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where they are denied the ability to open a bank account or something, we can eage with the business bank to clarify policy, we are willing too that all the time. >> i yield back. thank you. >> thank you. ...
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>>. >> and we both share the fundamental view that refugee returns have to be safe and voluntary and identified and
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we have a good coalition with those counterparts has been more challenging and in my previous rule the difficulties assistant secretary i am my colleagues had to interact with lebanese counterparts to remind them that refugee returns, those three to six has to be some lebanese political figures with those voluntary aspect but that is not acceptable. we tried to continue to do our part with the international community support to alleviate the burden of those countries bear because with those resources with non- is going through an economic crisis and jordan is another it's
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important to continue so that refugee can be alleviated can be alleviated and then to push for the single greatest thing which is for assad and his regime to war on - - in the war against the syrian people with the political process with the political solution and the conflict. >> and with those forces expect over the short-term and medium and long-term? >> so what you are talking about the same democratic forces in northeast syria know
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what they can count on is it will be maintained and the campaign to defeat access to local security partners because it's a pblem expanding both countries. >> thank you very much mr. chairman i want to join my his job as oers that have congratulated you as we adopted a muslim family and with the ethnic cleansing that was going on there they ask if a new president clinton at the time i know elliott angle now
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why he is a street nad after him because of your great work there and with incredible respect for you as do i i will miss you very much and the work that you d and the work that you did around peace d israel. i want to ask you more about that refugee issue with a plan to refugee camps and ribbon on - - in lebanon and in jordan and in egypt and in some situations better than others.
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they were doing their fair share is a change? >> contributions and with the refugee problem has the high and the wrestles donors conference we got another set of good pledges so so for the international community show support. >> what about the gulf countries? but then they walked away. >> i would have to get back
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and check with you the gulf contribution. >> it has been sometime children grow up there they learn how to live like refugees and they cannot repatriate right now. safe and dignified i know they cannot do that and why don't they receive more those refugees or cells? why don't we? >> are you?
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>> i'm here. when we settled more than 22000 and refugees human we resettled 481 and currently there are 29000 and with the refugee admissions program. put out a meager place. and looking at 400 this year it is scandalous and we're not doing our fair share.
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>> and this is not a criticism of you part of this administration willing to welcome are muslim refugees at the level that we should be because they are in dire straits we been talking about the issue of ambassador back in 2016 he was one of the six republican and security officials who signed the letter that donald trump is not qualified to be commander-in-chief and putting the country and security at risk because the president didn't know what the hell he was doing. thank you for your service and a ver capable and the
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comments with the foreign-policy overall and then to talk about turkey's involvement in syria opposed alliances along with me and my colleagues from azerbaijan
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acting as a proxy from armenia to put them in a ve precarious position given the resolution and russia and turkey as it relates t azerbaijan. mahave tremendous problems right now not only that pandemic and their economy and everyone o - - and the one -
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- erdogan is taking in the direction it's not the turkey we knew two decades ago and i'm not sure they are worthy to continue to be a partner in the total actions in recent years. could you care to comment? >> thank you congressman. to achieve hill and syria and azerbaijan and that is beyond my lean and i cannot answer and those in the crisis and in syria we tried to maintain as constructive a dialogue as possible and what turkey does to protect the civilians of the syria that are under incredible assault from the assad regime. this is something we support
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and other our intentions the borders of northeast area we work very hard there were realist and downs there is an intense call minority syria smith you think the real girls are toward the kurds talking about are the syria? >> is difficult to say. and these turkeys are those on
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both sides of the border chemotherapies and we tried to apply the diplomatic energy to defuse tensions and help both sides point to the future. >> look at all the players and syria you can make a case was conflicts that are going on and it just doesn't seem to me that helps your efforts. is not clear and you thought things are turning out with positive outcomes with that doesn't seem to be clear to me. >> i strongly believe that.
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that was pretty depressing that cia situati is i think we're on a different trajectory and i thank you will see that in the months to come. the leverage will grow month by month. >> that's my personal judgment because we will continue to work and hope for the best. thk you very muc. >> thankou very much mr. chairman. for your friendship and for the things you have done. also i have to think the chairperson for allowing me to have this opportunity.
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thank you for your friendship not only here but with homeland security. ms. pelosi and the speaker was always mr. we're so i think them as well. i have been on this eight year missionf mercy along with emily to secure the return and as is known by the people here to pass the house recently and bimeral support. it received attention in the press has this been called to the attention to have them
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return home is a call to the attention of the president? >> i don't know that personally but knowing the attention the president has given to the issue as well as unjustly detained are missing americans, i cannot imagine it was not brought to the white house attention. so i am a confident. >> so with another question 2254, is that a negotiated
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return? >> not at all. >> and that resolution has passed into that negotiated return of these two persons i just happen to be familiar with these two and those earlier comments would understand that that is important. >> is there anything you can share with reference to the negotiated return of our iends?
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and for fully accounting of tha that, what i can say is that we strongly believe that city government has information about the status whereabouts of these missing americans including what they have not shareand we believe that they have it within their means to affect a return and certainly e disclosure of th and other missing americans status and they so far have been unwilling to share that information and they have been asked to do so. >> the question that i didn't come to ask but i rarely get this opportunity so i will,
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will, torture pressure is a cold war country and give russia a place to be dispersed and of course given access to the mediterranean. so how likely is it russia will lead syria given that area is fairly important in the global design? >> that's a go question. we have not held up the politica solution with a long-standing in the language
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that we have used is military forces that are present in syria that were not there for 2011 as part of the resolution to the conflict we have not tried to press for their existing relationship and also the relationship the syrian government would have with international relations and military relations that's for the future syrian government sult from the political transition process and that's for the syrian people to decide in the future.
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>> thank you for your testimony to your meers and comments and questions and as reminr they will be submitted for the record we are adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversatio]
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