Sen. Portman Disagrees with White House Decision to Pull Troops Out of Syria

Oct 17, 2019

A number of Republicans have questioned President Donald Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria. Sen. Rob Portman said the placement of troops in northern Syria has brought stability to the region. He said taking troops out was a mistake.

“We’ve seen chaos descend. Not just on the Kurds, but also on others who live in that area who are now refugees and then also giving the opportunity for other forces to come in.”

Earlier this month, the U.S. decided to pull its troops out of Syria. It paved the way for Turkish forces to invade the northern region of the country, according to the Associated Press.

It led to the outcry of a humaniantarian crisis once forces began fighting with the Kurdish, who are viewed as terrorists to Turkey. The Kurdish have been allies with the U.S. for years in fighting the Islamic State, more commonly known as ISIS.

Because of this, legislators like Portman have voiced opposition to the decision, saying it could shatter relations with the Kurdish. The Trump administration imposed sanctions on the Turkish government soon after.

To stop possible endangerment the Kurds, Vice President Mike Pence met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to broker a cease-fire deal Thursday, but Erdogan said he doesn't see it as a stop to the operation, but more of a pause. He said he plans to give Kurdish forces 150 hours to leave the northern Syria, according to the Associated Press. The Kurdish have received orders to comply, but have not openly agreed.

As part of the new deal, Pence agreed to not add any more sanctions.

Shortly before Pence's announcement, Portman said he planned to cosponsor a resolution pushed by senators that would impose even more sanctions on Turkey.

“It’s never perfect in that part of the world. ... I’m concerned now that we are leaving the Kurds to their own devices and that they will be attacked,” Portman said.

The resolution would restrict visas of the top Turkish government officials within the U.S. and would require the administration to create a report strategizing its fight against ISIS.