Shaheen—Author of Syria Study Group Legislation—Releases Statement on Syria Study Group’s Final Report

September 24, 2019

**Shaheen Established the Bipartisan Panel to Address the Syrian Conflict in Legislation Signed into Law in 2018**

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Service Committees, issued the following statement in response to the Syria Study Group’s (SSG) final report on a comprehensive strategy to confront the Syrian conflict. Shaheen established the Syria Study Group in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization legislation that was signed into law in 2018.  On Thursday, Shaheen will deliver the keynote address for the U.S. Institute for Peace’s official report release event.

“As the Syria Study Group report makes clear, the Syrian conflict represents one of the most devastating humanitarian tragedies this world has ever seen,” said Shaheen. “I agree with the authors of this report—The U.S., even with its limited footprint in Syria, achieved significant gains, and we must hold onto that and use our leverage wisely. Given the increased role of harmful actors, like Iran, Russia and foreign terrorist fighters on the ground in Syria, it was time for a bipartisan assessment of the crisis that would enable our military to make the right choices. I believe this report and its recommendations are more relevant today than ever.”

Senator Shaheen visited Syria last year during a bipartisan congressional delegation with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), meeting with military personnel to view the gains made by U.S. security forces and their partners, and the need for a comprehensive strategy to end the violence in the region and provide stabilization support. One of the SSG’s recommendations – which was included in its preliminary report – was the creation of a senior coordinator position to address ISIS detainee issues. Shaheen successfully added an amendment to the Senate-passed fiscal year (FY) 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to establish this position within the Executive Branch for all ISIS detainee issues. The coordinator would lead all diplomatic engagements and planning regarding the future of ISIS detainees. Shaheen’s amendment also mandates an annual report to Congress on the status of repatriation, detention and prosecution of high-value ISIS detainees, including those associated with the notorious British ISIS cell known as “the Beatles” as well as efforts to inform family members of U.S. victims about the status of detainees responsible for crimes against Americans. In the Senate-approved defense bill, Shaheen also extended the authority to support training and equipping of vetted Syrian opposition, as well as the authority to support training and equipping of Iraqi Security Forces to counter ISIS. The Senate and House are currently conferencing on the respective chambers’ NDAA legislation.

Shaheen has worked closely with the family of James Foley, an American journalist and Granite Stater who was viciously murdered by ISIS jihadists. Shaheen has fought to ensure that ISIS terrorists culpable in Foley’s murder, as well as other U.S. citizens, are brought to trial in the United States.