Donald Trump’s controversial decision to remove U.S. troops from northeastern Syria has sparked controversy on both sides of the aisle and led to a brutal invasion by Turkey, as The Inquisitr reported. The Turkish attack reportedly aims to push the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) out of the region they currently occupy along the Turkish-Syrian border. Per Newsweek, the primary component of the SDF is the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey’s capital, Ankara, considers an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — a Kurdish far-left militant terrorist group.
Although the invasion of Syria has been halted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Trump reportedly claims there’s a ceasefire, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu recently suggested otherwise. According to Cavusoglu, the “Syrian operation pause” is contingent on the SDF laying down their weapons within 35 hours.
“There are 35 hours left. If [the YPG and PKK] do not withdraw, our operation will continue. That’s what we agreed with the Americans.”
Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria has been one of the most controversial of his presidency. Although Republicans don’t often speak against the president publicly, his approach to the conflict in the western Asia country has caused many to speak out against him.
Recently, Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd criticized Trump’s approach, suggesting that the purported ceasefire is more akin to a “surrender” as opposed to “a peace deal.” He also suggested that the Trump administration’s approach to the conflict is not on the same strategic level as the enemies of the United States.
“Unfortunately, our enemies and our adversaries — like Iran, Russia, Turkey — they’re playing chess. And unfortunately, this administration is playing checkers,” he said on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday, per The Hill.
EXCLUSIVE: I have obtained a copy of @realDonaldTrump’s letter to #Erdogan. @POTUS warns him to not “be a tough guy! Don’t be a fool!” Says he could destroy Turkey’s economy if #Syria is not resolved in a humane way. Details tonight at 8pm #TrishRegan #FoxBusiness pic.twitter.com/9BoSGlbRyt— Trish Regan (@trish_regan) October 16, 2019
Conversely, Lindsey Graham, who previously criticized Trump’s decision, backtracked and now supports his approach to Syria. Reuters reports that the South Carolina senator believes the risky decision could pay off big in the future.
“I am increasingly optimistic that we can have some historic solutions in Syria that have eluded us for years if we play our cards right,” he said.
According to Graham, Trump has a plan to ensure the Islamic State does not return to northeast Syria, pointing specifically to U.S. air power that could prevent such fighters held in the area from escaping — one of the main concerns expressed by critics of Trump’s plan. Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe echoed these sentiments, highlighting the necessity of air power to keep the pressure on the Islamic State as well as “prevent our adversaries Russia and Iran” from taking advantage of the situation.