As President Reverses Course in Syria, Spanberger Grills Administration Witnesses on U.S. Troop Withdrawal from Northern Syria, U.S. Strategy to Tackle ISIS

During a House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing, the Congresswoman Pushed for Answers on the Effects of U.S. Withdrawal on Fight Against ISIS, Turkish Aggression in the Region

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following President Trump’s announcement that the administration will be lifting all sanctions on Turkey, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger questioned the administration’s erratic strategy behind the U.S. withdrawal from Northern Syria.

During a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing focused on the administration’s recent actions in Northern Syria, Spanberger questioned Ambassador James F. Jeffrey, Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS at the State Department. Specifically, she asked how the U.S. retreat in the fight against ISIS and abandonment of U.S.-allied Kurdish forces could lead to further bloodshed in the region—and whether this decision actually meets the long-term national security goals of the United States and its allies. Click here to watch her remarks, and click here to watch the full hearing.

“Earlier this month, I returned from a bipartisan congressional delegation trip to Turkey, Afghanistan, and the Syria-Jordan border. Throughout our time abroad, we heard repeatedly from U.S. diplomats and military leaders about the danger posed to our national security if Turkey were to move aggressively into Syria. As we retreat in the fight against ISIS and renege on our commitments to the Kurdish forces who have fought and died alongside us, the administration needs to urgently reassess its strategy in how we deal with an aggressive Turkish regime, as well as our plans to confront the dangers of a renewed ISIS threat and a resurgent Russian presence in the Middle East,” said Spanberger. “Right now, U.S. global leadership stands at a crossroads. Yesterday, I expressed my concerns about the frenetic nature of recent decisions regarding Syria and Turkey. I also raised the alarm about the loss of intelligence assets and relationships in Syria and how that will endanger policymakers’ ability to keep Americans safe at home and abroad.”

Spanberger has continued to express deep concern about Turkey’s incursion into Northern Syria and its aggression against the Kurdish people. Last week, she joined two bipartisan sanctions bills that would hold Turkey accountable for its deadly incursion into Northern Syria. Through these tough, targeted sanctions, Spanberger is working to penalize the Turkish leaders, companies, and armed forces responsible for aggressive actions against the Kurdish people and U.S.-allied forces in the region.

Last week, Spanberger cosponsored a resolution and voted with an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of the U.S. House to condemn Turkey’s military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces in Northern Syria.

And earlier this month, Spanberger returned from a bipartisan congressional delegation trip to Turkey, Afghanistan, and the Syrian-Jordanian border. Following the administration’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Northern Syria, the bipartisan delegation released a statement strongly criticizing the move.

Spanberger also sent a letter to President Trump expressing strong concern about the administration’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Northern Syria and the effects on the Kurdish people.


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