"Syria, governed by President Hafiz al-Asad from 1970 until his death in June 2000, is a prominent player in the Middle East scene. Within the region, a number of border disputes, problems of resource allocation, and political rivalries have caused frequent tensions between Syria and its neighbors. In particular, the Syrian Golan Heights territory, which Israel has occupied since 1967, has been one of the most intractable issues in the Arab-Israeli dispute. […] On December 12, 2003, President Bush signed the Syria Accountability Act, H.R. 1828, as P.L. 108-175. This act imposes additional sanctions against Syria unless it halts support for terrorism, withdraws troops from Lebanon, ends its occupation of Lebanon, ceases development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and ceases support for terrorist activity in Iraq. Subsequently, on May 11, 2004, the President issued Executive Order 13338 to implement the provisions of this law. The conference report (H.Rept. 108-792) to the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act (Division D of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005) contains a provision making funds available for democracy, human rights, and rule of law programs for Syria, but does not set a dollar amount for these programs in the case of Syria. President Bush signed the bill as P.L. 108-447 on December 8, 2004."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB92075