Democratic Senator Chris Coons and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Tuesday demanded a senators-only briefing immediately on Syria from President Donald Trump administration.
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 U.S. strategic interests and reduce its influence in the region while strengthening Turkey, Russia and Iran.
“We are concerned that this was an abrupt decision taken in the face of reported opposition from military and diplomatic advisers,” said Coons and Graham.
The senators argued that thousands of detained Daesh fighters and supporters may fight again when Turkish military is carrying out its operation, adding that the decision would also harm local partners as well as the U.S. “ability to build strategic alliances in the future.”
“We believe that it is imperative that the Department of Defense, State Department, and the Intelligence Community provide an all members classified briefing on this decision as soon as possible,” they wrote.
The request for a meeting comes two days after Trump announced a pullout from northern Syria, where Turkey is set to launch a peace operation to clear the areas of the YPG terror group and establish a safe zone for refugees.
Since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for Syrians who fled the violence to return home.
Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a “terrorist corridor” there.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. YPG is the Syrian branch of the terrorist organization PKK.