Assistant Secretary Tom Malinowski's Travel to Turkey and Engagement With Syrian Civil Society and Opposition

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
February 9, 2015

Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski met with members of Syria's civil society and opposition located in Turkey, February 4-7, to express the U.S. Government’s ongoing support for their work.

Every day in Syria, civil society leaders are delivering essential services, coordinating humanitarian relief, and working to negotiate truces, rescuing victims of violence, documenting abuses, countering extremism, and laying the groundwork for a political transition. Assistant Secretary Malinowski stressed that civil society leaders are essential in any negotiations about the future of Syria.

Activists recounted the threats they face from the Assad regime and from extremist groups. Assistant Secretary Malinowski underscored U.S. support for Syrian human rights defenders and media activists and reiterated deep concern for the thousands of political prisoners who must be released, including Mazen Darwish and Razan Zeitouneh. He also reiterated that the Syrian people deserve justice, relief from the regime’s barrel bombs and other horrific abuses, and the ability to freely choose their government.

Assistant Secretary Malinowski and activists agreed that the rise of ISIL is fundamentally linked to the Assad regime's suppression of democratic opposition forces and atrocities against civilians. All groups condemned the grotesque murders committed by both the Assad regime and ISIL.

The United States stands with Syria's brave activists who, despite grave threats, continue their efforts to achieve fundamental human rights for all Syrians.

Follow Assistant Secretary Malinowski on Twitter: @Malinowski. For updates on the U.S. Government’s human rights work, visit or the DRL Twitter account, @State_DRL.