In a rare move, four of six Republican U.S. House members from Alabama voted Wednesday to condemn President Donald Trump’s removal of U.S. forces from northern Syria, leaving the Kurds, our allies in the fight against ISIS, vulnerable to attacks from Turkey.
Republican U.S. House Reps. Bradley Byrne of Fairhope and Mo Brooks of Huntsville voted against the resolution, while the remaining four Republicans, Reps. Mike Rogers, Gary Palmer, Martha Roby and Robert Aderholt, voted alongside Rep. Terri Sewell, a Democrat, in the 354-60 vote to approve.
The bipartisan nature of the resolution comes as northern Syria has devolved into chaos following Trump’s decision to remove U.S. troops, who had provided security for the incarceration of Islamic State fighters held in the area and dissuaded Turkey from attacking the Kurds. U.S. politicians and experts on the area say there’s a real fear over the release of the ISIS prisoners without the presence of U.S. troops there.
Turkey began an offensive, which included Syrian rebels, in northern Syria last week to push back Kurdish forces. Russian forces moved in just behind fleeing U.S. troops Tuesday and overtook a former U.S. military outpost near Manbij. Video taken by one of the Russians showed the soldiers walking through the former American outpost, operating electronic vehicle barriers and inspecting the American equipment.
The Washington Post reported that Trump said from the Oval Office on Wednesday that the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds was “over land that has nothing to do with us” and that the Kurds were “no angels.”
“There’s a lot of sand that they can play with,” Trump said from the Oval Office.
In contrast to his words from the White House on Wednesday that seemed to indicate he had no concern for the chaos ensuing in northern Syria, Trump’s letter on Oct. 9 to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned of financial repercussions if Turkey persisted in the attacks.
“History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way,” Trump wrote in a letter, first reported by Fox News. “It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen. Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” It concluded: “I will call you later.”
Erdogan’s actions since receiving that Oct. 9 letter do not show signs that he’s taken Trump’s warning seriously, however.
Erdogan said Wednesday that Kurdish fighters should “drop their weapons,” according to The Washington Post.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview Wednesday with Fox Business Network that Erdogan needs to stop the incursion into Syria and that “we need a cease-fire.”
“Nobody can stop us,” Erdogan said during a speech Wednesday, according to The Washington Post, adding that Turkey would “never declare a cease-fire.”