Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) July 21, 2012
The American Syrian Coalition (ASC) today thanked Congressman Jim Moran for introducing a measure to end the Department of Defense's (DoD) arms contract with Rosoboronexport, a major Russian state-owned arms manufacturer supplying weapons to Syria's Assad regime. The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to end the contract.
The amendment was adopted by a vote of 407-5, and was attached to the 2013 defense spending bill that passed the US House of Representatives and now moves to the Senate.
The Army has a $375 million, no-bid contract with Rosoboronexport, Russia's state-run arms trader, to buy 21 Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters for Afghanistan's air force. Pentagon officials have previously said Washington retained the option to place an order for an additional 12 helicopters, bringing the total value of the no-bid contract to about $1 billion. It is important to note that Roxoboranexport was under sanctions, explicitly named on the U.S. Specially Designated Nationals ("SDN") list from 2008-2010 for allegedly supplying Syria and Iran with equipment designed for the creation of weapons of mass destruction.
"The House vote to end the DoD contract with the Russian firm that is indirectly killing innocent Syrians everyday is a critical step forward, one the has been long-awaited by the Syrian American community" said Dr. Yahya Basha, Chairman of United For a Free Syria (UFS). "As Assad persists in his campaign to ruthlessly repress the Syrian people's demands for freedom and democracy, this vote demonstrates to the Syrian community that the U.S. sincerely and actively supports their freedoms."
The ASC was formed in April of 2012 to coordinate the efforts of various Syrian-American groups. The coalition's members are: the Syrian American Council (SAC), the Syrian Expatriates Organization, the Syrian Emergency Task Force, and United for a Free Syria.
United for a Free Syria is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting democracy, freedom and dignity for the Syrian people. UFS works to ensure that Syria becomes a thriving democracy and a model for its neighbors in the region.