Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (MA-09) is currently leading a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) to Syria and the Gaza Strip, part of the Palestinian Territories. The other members of the CODEL include Congressman Bob Inglis (R-SC) and several Congressional Oversight Committee Investigators.

While in Syria, Lynch and the Delegation met with President Bashar al Asad and discussed the progress of Syrian-Lebanese relations, the security situation on the Syria-Iraq border, the status of the Israeli-Syrian peace process and the status of humanitarian relief efforts in the Gaza strip as well as other issues.

“Our meeting with President Asad covered a range of important issues and was both candid and constructive,” Congressman Lynch said. “While we obviously have some strong differences, I am hopeful that we can work toward our mutual goals given our shared interests in the region.”

The CODEL has also travelled to Israel and Gaza where Lynch met with Israeli officials, including Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni. Lynch visited with Palestinian doctors at the Al Quds Medical Center in Gaza and met with relief agencies, including Catholic Relief Services, to discuss the challenges to humanitarian efforts there.

“Currently, there are about 1.5 million people living in Gaza, an area of about 20 square miles. Many of these families with young children have no running water, no working sanitation system and no electricity. Because there are tight restrictions on basic services and the right to travel, this is really a humanitarian crisis,” said Lynch. “While several countries, including the U.S., have pledged support, it is important to move quickly to provide relief,” added Lynch.