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House Votes Overwhelmingly To Condemn Trump’s Military Pullback In Turkey
US President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) in the Roosevelt Room where they issued a joint statement following their meeting at the White House on May 16, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 77, titled: “Opposing the decision to end certain United States efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces in Northeast Syria.”

The resolution, which passed 354 to 60 (129 Republicans voted for the resolution along with 225 Democrats), reads in part:

Whereas thousands of Syrian fighters, including Syrian Kurds, fought courageously with the United States against the brutality of ISIS throughout Syria, liberating nearly one-third of Syrian territory from ISIS’ so-called “caliphate”…

Whereas Turkey has historically threatened, forcibly displaced, and killed Syrian Kurds, including during military operations in the Afrin District…

Whereas, during the counter-ISIS campaign in Syria, the SDF captured thousands of ISIS fighters, including foreign terrorist fighters from around the world who pose threats to our allies in the region … Whereas the SDF has warned the United States and international community that a Turkish incursion into Northeast Syria would significantly decrease the SDF’s ability to combat ISIS and to continue providing security and management for ISIS detainees and their family members…

Whereas an abrupt withdrawal of United States military personnel from certain parts of Northeast Syria is beneficial to adversaries of the United States government, including Syria, Iran, and Russia: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress—

(1) opposes the decision to end certain United States efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces in Northeast Syria;

(2) calls on Turkish President Erdogan to immediately cease unilateral military action in Northeast Syria and to respect existing agreements relating to Syria;

(3) calls on the United States to continue supporting Syrian Kurdish communities through humanitarian support, including to those displaced or otherwise affected by ongoing violence in Syria;

(4) calls on the United States to work to ensure that the Turkish military acts with restraint and respects existing agreements relating to Syria; and

(5) calls on the White House to present a clear and specific plan for the enduring defeat of ISIS.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have condemned President Trump’s decision to pull American troops from northern Syria, allowing Turkish forces to move into the area.

On October 6, the White House released an official statement, which noted that following a phone call between Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Trump, “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria.”

The press release went on to state that the U.S. military would “not support or be involved in the operation.”

The president defended the move in a tweet: “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over the captured ISIS fighters and families. The US has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate.”

During a recent interview, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stated that approximately 1,000 American troops will be withdrawn from northern Syria. NBC News reports that according to two U.S. military officials, only 300 troops are set to remain at the al-Tanf garrison located near Syria’s southeast border with Lebanon and Iraq.

The Turkish advance has led to death and chaos in the area.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims that more than 250,000 civilians have been displaced in the days following the Turkish advance, and as many as 71 civilians have been killed.

The death toll among the Syria Democratic Forces, military councils and internal security forces since the start of the Turkish military operation on Wednesday afternoon have risen to 158, while the number of deaths among Syrian factions loyal to Ankara and the pro-Turkey cells killed in the attacks and clashes with the SDF during the same period reached 128…

The Associated Press reports that “hundreds of Islamic State families and supporters escaped from a holding camp in Syria amid the fighting between Turkish forces and the Kurds.” The camp is located in the subdistrict of Ain Issa.

Amidst the chaos of the Turkish advance into Syria, there are fears that Kurdish forces currently guarding thousands of ISIS detainees might have to abandon their posts in order to join the fight, possibly giving the detainees room to flee their cages.

During a recent interview with ABC’s “This Week,” former Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis appeared to echo such fears, saying that “if we don’t keep the pressure on, then ISIS will resurge.”

One of President Trump’s loudest critics on this issue has been Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who, during a Wednesday interview on CBN, said he would become the president’s “worst nightmare” if things didn’t change.

“I am looking to President Trump to change this. I will do anything I can to help him, but I will also become President Trump’s worst nightmare,” Graham told host Pat Robertson. “I will not sit along the sidelines and watch a good ally, the Kurds, be slaughtered by Turkey and watch Iran move into Syria and become another nightmare for Israel. This is a defining moment for President Trump. He needs to up his game.”

Graham added that if the United States pulls out of Syria, the Islamic State (ISIS) will return and Iran will “take over.” The Senator then implored Trump to be more like Reagan and less like Obama, and “stand up to Erdoğan,” or face losing in 2020.

Also on Wednesday, Trump addressed Graham, saying: “Lindsey Graham would like to stay in the Middle East for the next thousand years with thousands of soldiers and fighting other people’s wars. I want to get out of the Middle East.”

But Graham isn’t the only Republican lawmaker questioning the president.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has also condemned Trump’s move, saying that while we cannot stay in “foreign theaters forever … we still have major national security interests in Syria.”

The senator stated that ISIS cannot be allowed to regroup, adding:

It would also be DISGRACEFUL if we sat idly by while Turkey slaughters the Kurds, as public reports suggest that Turkish leader Erdogan explicitly told President Trump he intends to do. Kurds risked their lives—for many years—to fight alongside us.

Our enemies and rivals (Iran, Russia, etc.) don’t abandon their allies; if we want allies to stand with America in the future, we shouldn’t either. Honorable nations stand by their friends.

On Thursday, Sen. Graham and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced legislation that would severely sanction Turkey as a whole, as well as Turkish leaders specifically.

Graham and Van Holden’s legislation includes sanctions against those who would engage in the sale of military equipment or services with Turkey, and “prohibits the sale of U.S. defense articles, services, technology, [and] materials to the Turkish Armed Forces … [as well as] ammunition sales and transfers to the Turkish Armed Forces,” reads the summary text from Sen. Graham’s website.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  House Votes Overwhelmingly To Condemn Trump’s Military Pullback In Turkey