Thursday, 09 April, 2020

Senators demand briefing from Trump admin on Syria

The US military has warned that short of sustained international pressure IS would soon have the ability to regroup Senators demand briefing from Trump admin on Syria
Cecil Davis | 09 October, 2019, 02:46

"Despite continued misreporting to the contrary, Secretary Esper and Chairman Milley were consulted over the last several days by the President regarding the situation and efforts to protect U.S. forces in northern Syria in the face of military action by Turkey", the Defense Department's chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

The withdrawal, announced by the White House late on Sunday, was swiftly condemned by a bipartisan group of lawmakers over concerns that it could open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led forces long allied with Washington.

In a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, the senators said Trump's decision to pull back troops will severely harm United States strategic interests and reduce its influence in the region while strengthening Turkey, Russia, and Iran. The move was widely criticized, amid fears it would leave Kurdish fighters exposed to potential attacks from Turkey.

"Turkey considers the Kurdish forces as "terrorists" and insists it needs a "safety zone" along the border". "We will not hesitate for a moment in defending our people", it said in a statement.

Earlier, Turkey's defence ministry said "all preparations for the operation have been completed", adding that the establishment of the "safe zone" was "essential" for Syrians and for peace in the region. Erdogan seemed to have rejected a joint U.S.

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Zarif's tweeted his condemnation of the US role in Syria nearly immediately after news of a possible USA troop withdrawal came out.

According to him, 370,000 Syrian refugees have already returned home to areas in Syria's northwest, where Turkey previously carried out the military operations "Euphrates Shield" and "Olive Branch".

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces became the main USA -backed force in Syria in the fight against IS. While they may publicly oppose a Turkish incursion into Syria, they probably don't mind an operation that diminishes the Kurdish forces. Last year Turkey launched an attack on the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin, leading to the displacement of some 300,000 people.

As controversy continues over a planned Turkish incursion into Syria, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the U.S.

Zarif urged Turkey to respect Syria's integrity and sovereignty, the report said.