WASHINGTON DC (Kurdistan 24) – At least seven other US Congressman joined Sen. Lindsey Graham (R, South Carolina) on Wednesday in expressing their opposition to a hasty US withdrawal from eastern Syria after the bombing in Manbij earlier that day which killed at least 19 people, four of them Americans.
The calls for a review of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw forces from Syria came from both Republicans and Democrats and from the most relevant committees—those dealing with US foreign affairs and with the US military.
“I strongly urge the President to forcefully respond” to today’s attack, Rep. Michael McCaul (R, Texas) said in a statement as he emphasized that it was necessary to “ensure we do not withdraw our troops until ISIS is completely destroyed.”
“Allowing ISIS to regroup will inspire new radicals to join their cause and invite more violence and chaos across the Middle East,” the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee warned.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R, NY), who also sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, similarly issued a statement critical of Trump’s decision. “We must ensure that any removal of troops from Syria” is done in a manner so that “required conditions and objectives” are met.
“In Syria, for example, we don’t want to see Turkey come in and wipe out the Kurds; nor do we want to see ISIS re-establishing a caliphate,” Zeldin affirmed.
Yet a third member of the committee expressed a similar view. “It’s clear that ISIS remains at large in the region,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, (R. Illinois) tweeted. “We mourn the loss of life, & must recommit our fight against evil.”
As we await further information on the attack in Syria, it’s clear that ISIS remains at large in the region. Fighting them is not an option; where we fight them is our choice. We mourn the loss of life, & must recommit our fight against evil.— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) January 16, 2019
Sen. James Inhofe (R, Oklahoma), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, suggested that President Trump should reconsider the withdrawal of US forces, The New York Times reported.
Similarly, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Jack Reed (D, Rhode Island), stated, “From the beginning, I thought the President was wrong,” in ordering the troop withdrawal. “It was a strategic mistake for the whole region,” The Washington Post reported.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D, New Jersey), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee issued a statement in which he complained that the Trump administration “needs a clearly developed and articulate strategy to secure” US gains “in the fight against terror.”
“The United States must do more to work with our allies to develop a comprehensive approach” to the danger, Menendez affirmed.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R, Florida), who also sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted, “This is no time to retreat from the fight against ISIS. Will only embolden and strengthen them.”
#ISIS has claimed credit for killing American troops in #Syria today.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 16, 2019
If true, it is a tragic reminder that ISIS not been defeated and is transforming into a dangerous insurgency.
This is no time to retreat from the fight against ISIS. Will only embolden & strenghthen them.
The new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Jim Risch (R, Idaho), did not speak to the issue on Wednesday, but in an interview with PBS’ highly regarded Newshour the day before, he expressed mild criticism of Trump’s withdrawal decision, saying, “The roll-out of this was done on Twitter, as opposed to an in-depth paper on the position.”
However, “the president understands that we can’t leave the Kurds behind,” Risch said.
“The Turks, in my judgment, are not as sophisticated as they should be in dealing with the Kurds,” he continued, because “they paint all the Kurds with the same brush.”
“We cannot condone, nor will we condone them going in and doing atrocities against the Kurds,” the new chairman affirmed.
Editing by Nadia Riva