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Family of Slain U.S. Islamic State Hostage Sues Syrian Assad Regime

The family of murdered American journalist Steven Sotloff has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria, alleging that Syria “provided financial, material, and military support to the Islamic State.”

Sotloff was abducted from Syria by ISIS militants in August 2013 and murdered in a videotaped beheading released by the terror state as a “message to America” in September 2014.

The family’s lawsuit contends that “Syria’s material support caused the abduction and murder of Steven Sotloff,” as reported by the Associated Press. The suit seeks $90 million in compensatory damages, plus up to triple that amount in punitive damages.

Newsweek recalls speculation that Assad’s government allowed ISIS to expand its influence in Syria “in order to heighten instability in the country and focus international attention away from the conflict with Syria’s moderate rebels seeking to topple the regime.”

Syria has been designated a state sponsor of terrorism by the United States government and has been sued for terrorism-related claims in the past. The prospects for the Sotloff lawsuit are uncertain, because as the AP explains, “lawyers have often found it difficult to track down assets that can be seized to satisfy a U.S. judgment.”

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