House to vote on bipartisan measure opposing Trump's Syria move

US House politicians introduce measure opposing Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from northeast Syria.

    Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House [Yuri Gripas/Reuters]
    Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House [Yuri Gripas/Reuters]

    The United States House of Representatives plans to vote Wednesday on a bipartisan resolution opposing President Donald Trump's withdrawal of American troops from northeast Syria.

    The measure underscores an overwhelming congressional consensus that Trump's decision has damaged US interests in the region and helped adversaries, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISI), Russia and Iran.

    Turkey launched an operation against Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria following Trump's decision. The Kurds were the top US ally in the fight against ISIL in the region. 

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    The House measure says Turkey should halt military actions in Syria and says the US should send humanitarian aid to the embattled Kurds.

    It also calls on Trump to produce "a clear and specific plan for the enduring defeat" of ISIL.

    The measure comes after Trump imposed sanctions on Turkey over its operation in northeast Syria. Many politicians have said, however, the sanctions are not enough.

    "We have always maintained that, while certainly needed, a sanctions package alone is insufficient for reversing this humanitarian disaster," House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement introducing the House resolution.

    An identical bipartisan measure is being introduced in the Senate.

    Trump has come under sharp criticism from members of Congress, including from many in his Republican Party, who view the withdrawal as an abandonment of Kurdish forces and fear what it means for the battle against ISIL. 

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    Republican Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a reminder Tuesday that a veto-proof majority of 70 senators voted earlier this year against such a pullout. He suggested Trump's move allowed Turkey to launch operations in northeast Syria, "creating a power vacuum begging for the meddling influence of Russia", and leaving Syria open for Iran to advance its reach "unimpeded" towards Israel.

    Schumer slammed Trump for scuttling years of progress American and Syrian Kurdish forces had made against ISIL "in one fell, quick, unthought-out swoop".

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies