Tags: Donald Trump | ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | Syria | Trump Administration | War on Terrorism | troop withdrawal

Mitch McConnell Slams Trump Again on Syria

mitch mcconnell approaches the podium as president donald trump departs it
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and President Donald Trump (Evan Vucci/AP)

By    |   Monday, 14 October 2019 04:44 PM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., again ripped President Donald Trump's decision on Syria on Monday saying that "withdrawing American leadership" from the region "would only make a troubling situation much worse."

"Withdrawing American leadership from this pivotal region would not serve our nation's short-, medium-, or long-term interests," McConnell said in a statement.

"It would only make a troubling situation much worse, not only for regional partners such as Israel and Jordan but for the United States as well."

McConnell, 77, in his sixth Senate term, is among many Republicans and Democrats beating a steady drum against Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria — prompting attacks last week by Turkey against the Kurds in northern Syria.

Turkish officials said Monday that Syrian Kurdish fighters had emptied a jail holding Islamic State prisoners in a part of the country where Ankara has been under assault.

Turkey's attacks have prompted alarm that Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists could escape Kurdish-run prisons in northern Syria and regroup.

Ankara has dismissed those concerns.

In his statement, McConnell said that he had co-sponsored legislation earlier this year that "warned against leaving Syria or Afghanistan prematurely.

"A bipartisan supermajority of senators supported it."

He said that he was "gravely concerned by recent events in Syria and by our nation's apparent response thus far.

"Turkey is our NATO ally and has legitimate security concerns stemming from the conflict in Syria," McConnell added. "But Turkey's offensive against our Syrian Kurdish partners is jeopardizing years of hard-won progress in the fight against ISIS.

"For years, the United States and our Syrian Kurdish partners have fought heroically to corner ISIS and destroy its physical caliphate.

"Abandoning this fight now and withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria would re-create the very conditions that we have worked hard to destroy and invite the resurgence of ISIS," he said.

"And such a withdrawal would also create a broader power vacuum in Syria that will be exploited by Iran and Russia, a catastrophic outcome for the United States' strategic interests."

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Saying "withdrawing American leadership" from the region "would only make a troubling situation much worse," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., again ripped President Donald Trump's decision on Syria on Monday.
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Monday, 14 October 2019 04:44 PM
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