Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT) voiced their concerns about the U.S. pulling troops out of Syria, days before Turkey targeted "civilian areas."
The Utah lawmakers are worried about the negative impacts President Donald Trump's decision will have on national security and humanitarian efforts.
McAdams encouraged the Trump administration in a tweet to meet with Congress.
A U.S. pullback in Syria would have negative impacts on our allies in the region, our ability to counter ISIS, and our national security. I urge the administration to work with Congress to develop a strategy that meets our nation's security and foreign and policy objectives.
Romney released a joint statement Monday with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). The men serve on the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism.
“The President’s decision to abandon our Kurdish allies in Northern Syria in the face of an assault by Turkey is a betrayal that will have grave humanitarian and national security consequences. After enlisting support from the Kurds to help destroy ISIS and assuring Kurdish protection from Turkey, the U.S. has now opened the door to their destruction. This severely undercuts America’s credibility as a reliable partner and creates a power vacuum in the region that benefits ISIS.
With some 15,000 ISIS fighters on the ground, and tens of thousands in prison camps controlled by the Kurds, the security situation remains precarious. A Turkish invasion will further destabilize conditions on the ground and could result in the escape of ISIS detainees and supporters."
Finally, this decision will further exacerbate the already dire humanitarian crisis by creating new waves of refugees in a region where it will be far more difficult for NGOs to operate. This decision is ultimately a victory for Assad, Russia, Iran, and ISIS. The Administration must immediately reconsider its announced decision to withdraw the few remaining U.S. troops who, for the time being, are playing a vital peacekeeping role. Without a political agreement to protect the Kurds and other U.S. allies in Syria, our limited presence there is necessary to protect our security interests and those of the brave fighters who stood with us in the fight against ISIS
Barring a reversal of this decision, the Administration must come before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and explain to the American people how betraying an ally and ceding influence to terrorists and adversaries is not disastrous for our national security interests. As Chairman and Ranking Member of the Middle East subcommittee, we will be working with Committee leadership to assure that the Administration appears before the Committee as soon as possible.”
Trump defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria Wednesday morning, saying focus on the “BIG PICTURE!”
He argued in a series of tweets that "GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY!" He said the U.S. went to war under a "false & now disproven premise, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. There were NONE!"
"Fighting between various groups that has been going on for hundreds of years. USA should never have been in Middle East," Trump said. "The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!"
He added that he is "slowly & carefully" bringing home "our great soldiers & military."
Turkey launched its attack Wednesday. The country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced the news on his official Twitter account.
The Associated Press reports Turkey views the Syrian Kurdish fighters, who helped the U.S. against the Islamic state, as terrorists.
Trump said, "Our focus is on the BIG PICTURE! THE USA IS GREATER THAN EVER BEFORE!"
U.S. military has been in the Middle East for four decades as part of a strategy to keep security threats from spreading to America and other allied countries.