News and Commentary

Report: U.S. Bombs Own Headquarters In Syria For Fighting ISIS As Turkish Forces Approach
The Turkish and U.S. troops start their second joint ground patrol within a planned safe zone in northern Syria along the Syrian-Turkish border, in Sanliurfa, Turkey on September 24, 2019.
Photo by Muslum Etgu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

On Wednesday, after Turkish forces moved toward them, the U.S. launched airstrikes to destroy the headquarters in Syria where the American campaign to destroy ISIS was located, according to U.S. officials who spoke to The Wall Street Journal. The base included warehouses where the Kurdish-led fighters fighting Turkey and ISIS were trained and quipped. The airstrike reputedly was launched to prevent Turkish forces from nearing the base.

The Journal noted that despite the assault on Kurdish forces from Turkey, President Trump on Wednesday would only say that the Turkish attack had “nothing to do with us.”

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence flew to Turkey to meet with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and on Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution opposing the withdrawal of U.S troops from Syria and leaving the Kurds open to an assault.

The resolution, HR 625, stated:

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, on October 6, 2019, the White House announced “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria” while the “United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces … will no longer be in the immediate area.”; Whereas, on October 6, 2019, the White House announced “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years”; Whereas an October 10, 2019, White House statement said, “This morning, Turkey, a NATO member, invaded Syria. The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea.”; 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 in addition to ISIS fighters in detention approximately 70,000 women and children are currently held at the Al-Hol internally displaced persons camp and at other camps in northeast Syria; Whereas the Lead Inspector General for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve stated in August 2019, ISIS is already “seeking to establish safe haven in al-Hol” aiming to recruit individuals who are “susceptible to ISIS messaging, coercion, and enticement.”; 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, on October 6, 2019, President Trump conducted a call with President Erdogan in which, according to the official White House press release, they discussed the upcoming Turkish incursion, and soon after this call, a White House press release announced the withdrawal of the United States military from the immediate area, which was completed within hours; and 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, That the House of Representatives—

(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 military and humanitarian support, including support to those displaced or otherwise affected by ongoing violence in Syria; and

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

The resolution was passed in a 354-60 vote.

Kurdish fighters reportedly sought aid from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, prompting Trump to aver, “Syria is protecting the Kurds, that’s good. Syria may get help from Russia and that’s fine. … There’s a lot of sand to play with … I wish them all a lot of luck.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), warned that Trump’s remarks “completely undercut Vice President Pence and Sec. Pompeo’s ability to end the conflict,” adding, “I fear this is a complete and utter national security disaster in the making and I hope President Trump will adjust his thinking.”