Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (11/15/2016)

Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2016

This bill declares that it is U.S. policy that all diplomatic and coercive economic means should be used to compel the government of Bashar al Assad to halt the slaughter of the Syrian people and actively work toward transition to a democratic and peaceful government.

The President shall prohibit, or impose conditions on, the opening or maintaining in the United States of a correspondent account or payable-through account by any domestic financial institution or domestic financial agency for or on behalf of the Central Bank of Syria that is of primary money laundering concern.

The bill directs the President to impose specified entry and U.S.-based property sanctions against a foreign person that knowingly: (1) provided significant financial, material, or technological support to Syria (including its intelligence and security services or its armed forces), the Central Bank of Syria, or to a foreign person subject to specified sanctions; (2) supported Syria's domestic production of natural gas or petroleum or sold or provided Syria with crude oil, refined petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, or petrochemical products in excess of $2 million in a 12-month period; (3) sold or provided civilian aircraft or spare parts or provides related goods, services, or technologies to a foreign person operating in Syrian-controlled areas, or sold or provided significant goods, services, or technology to a foreign person operating in Syria's shipping, transportation, or telecommunications sectors; or (4) facilitated or financed money laundering or petroleum-related activities; and (5) is owned or controlled by a foreign person engaged in such activities.

The President shall impose specified entry and U.S.-based property sanctions against a foreign person that has knowingly assisted Syria to acquire or develop ballistic missiles, chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons, destabilizing numbers and types of advanced conventional weapons, or specified defense articles or information.

The Syria Human Rights Accountability Act of 2012 is amended to direct the President to impose entry and U.S.-based property sanctions against persons responsible for or complicit in: (1) directing the commission of serious human rights abuses against Syrian citizens or their family members, regardless of whether such abuses occurred in Syria; or (2) transferring to Syria certain military items or goods or technologies that may be used to commit human rights abuses.

The President shall submit and update a list of, and impose entry and U.S.-based property sanctions against, persons responsible for hindering access to humanitarian relief activities in Syria.

The Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development shall report on the monitoring and evaluation of ongoing assistance programs in Syria and to the Syrian people.

The President shall report with respect to: (1) whether each of specified Syrian persons, including Bashar al Assad, meets the requirements for inclusion on the list of persons who are responsible for or complicit in certain human rights abuses against Syrian citizens and, for any such person not included in such report, a description of the reasons why the person was not included; and (2) the potential effectiveness of a no-fly zone over Syria.

The State Department may provide assistance to entities taking criminal and evidence gathering actions for prosection of individuals who have committed crimes against humanity or war crimes in Syria since March 2011.

The President may suspend sanctions against Syria under specified conditions.

The bill: (1) expresses the sense of Congress with respect to what shall constitute a transitional government in Syria, (2) sets forth activities and transactions that are exempt from sanctions, and (3) declares it to be U.S. policy to waive sanctions to ensure that adequate humanitarian relief or support for democracy promotion is provided to the Syrian people.