Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Wednesday praised President Donald Trump's decision to lift sanctions on Turkey after the country agreed to permanently stop fighting Kurdish forces in Syria, saying that "this cease-fire, if permanent, represents real progress."
"President Trump is correct that without sanctions being issued against Turkey there would be no cease-fire," Graham, a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and a harsh Trump critic on his initial Syrian troop decision, said in a statement.
"If we can create a sustainable safe zone — that protects Turkey's national security interests and prevents the ethnic cleansing of our Kurdish allies — that will be historic progress."
Trump said Wednesday that the financial restrictions would be removed "unless something happens that we are not happy with" and that "we're getting out," referring to U.S. troop withdrawals from northern Syria.
In also announcing a "safe zone" along the Turkey-Syria border, the president asserted at the White House that tens of thousands of Kurdish lives were saved because of his actions.
"Let someone else fight over this long blood-stained sand," he said.
Graham called on international allies to "police this safe zone" — not Syria, Russia or Turkey — and "this can be accomplished by America providing air power to an international force, but not committing troops on the ground to control the safe zone.
"By continuing to maintain control of the oil fields in Syria, we will deny [President Bashar al-Assad] and Iran a monetary windfall," the senator continued.
"By increasing production of the oil fields, we will be helping our Syrian Democratic Forces allies who fought so bravely to destroy the ISIS caliphate.
"We can also use some of the revenues from future oil sales to pay for our military commitment in Syria."
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