web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Graham, Lindsey

In Bipartisan Rebuke, House Majority Condemns Trump for Syria Withdrawal

WASHINGTON — The House on Wednesday dealt a stinging bipartisan rebuke to President Trump for his decision to withdraw American forces just inside Syria’s border, registering overwhelming opposition in Congress to a move that has thrown the region into bloody chaos and unraveled Middle East policy.

In a rare break with a president they are normally unwilling to criticize, two-thirds of House Republicans, including all of the party’s elected leaders, joined Democrats in approving a resolution that opposed Mr. Trump’s acquiescence to the Turkish assault against the Kurds, who have been crucial American allies in the fight against the Islamic State. The measure passed, 354 to 60, in the most significant bipartisan repudiation of Mr. Trump since he took office.

It enraged the president, who lashed out at Democratic congressional leaders at the White House shortly afterward at a meeting called to discuss the incursion, which devolved into a bitter confrontation in which he hurled insults at Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she pointedly mentioned the devastating vote tally.

“He was shaken up by it,” Ms. Pelosi said of the resounding support, including by Republicans, for the resolution.

The vote unfolded only hours before Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were to travel to Ankara, Turkey, to call for a cease-fire in a battle the president appears to have greenlit.

“At President Trump’s hands, American leadership has been laid low, and American foreign policy has become nothing more than a tool to advance his own interests,” said Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who introduced the measure. “Today we make clear that the Congress is a coequal branch of government and we want nothing to do with this disastrous policy.”

The measure, which was largely symbolic, upbraided the withdrawal as “beneficial to adversaries of the United States government” including Russia, Syria and Iran, and called on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to immediately end unilateral military action in northern Syria. A companion measure in the Senate, sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Todd Young, Republican of Indiana, was introduced on Tuesday.

Westlake Legal Group white-house-trump-letter-promo-1571261887115-articleLarge In Bipartisan Rebuke, House Majority Condemns Trump for Syria Withdrawal Van Hollen, Christopher Jr United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syria Paul, Rand Kurds Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Cheney, Liz

Read Trump’s Letter to Turkey’s President

Trump said he’d written the “very powerful” letter to warn the Turkish leader.

Even as Mr. Trump defended his decision to pull American troops out of northern Syria, telling reporters at the White House that the battle there had “nothing to do with us,” Republicans and Democrats lined up on the House floor to denounce his action.

“Because of this decision and inaction that led up to this decision, we have let our friends down, we have hurt our national security and we have ceded leadership in the region to Russia and Iran,” said Representative Will Hurd, Republican of Texas and a former C.I.A. officer who is retiring. “I hope we can change our course, but I fear it may be too late.”

The resolution drew support from 129 Republicans including all three of the party’s House leaders, while 60 opposed it and three — Representatives Chip Roy of Texas, Jody B. Hice of Georgia and Bob Gibbs of Ohio — voted present. Representative Justin Amash, independent of Michigan, also voted present.

The resolution was not the first bipartisan rebuke by Congress of Mr. Trump’s mercurial approach to foreign policy. The president’s allies on Capitol Hill have shown they are most comfortable criticizing him on matters of international affairs, and have previously joined Democrats to denounce his administration’s unflagging support of Saudi Arabia after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist. And they declared their disapproval this year of attempts to withdraw American forces from Syria in a bipartisan effort led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader.

But Mr. Trump’s decision last week to essentially clear the way for a Turkish military operation against America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria has provoked the strongest response yet from Republicans, including many of the president’s most reliable allies.

Mr. McConnell opened his weekly news conference on Wednesday by expressing his “gratitude to the Kurds,” and added, “I’m sorry that we are where we are.”

After Mr. Trump said Wednesday that Turkey’s invasion into Syria had nothing to do with us” and that the Kurds “are no angels,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, called it “an astonishing statement which I completely and totally reject.”

Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 Republican, wrote on Twitter that it is “Impossible to understand why @realDonaldTrump is leaving America’s allies to be slaughtered and enabling the return of ISIS.”

Hawkish lawmakers like Ms. Cheney and Mr. Graham, as well as Democratic leaders in the House, are preparing additional legislative action to punish the Turks’ incursion. Mr. Graham introduced a sanctions package with Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, last week, that would impose harsher sanctions on Turkey than the White House has enacted, including the prohibition of American military assistance and the freezing of the American assets of Mr. Erdogan and other Turkish leaders.

Westlake Legal Group syria-turkey-promo-1571094797315-articleLarge-v3 In Bipartisan Rebuke, House Majority Condemns Trump for Syria Withdrawal Van Hollen, Christopher Jr United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syria Paul, Rand Kurds Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Cheney, Liz

4 Big Questions About Syria’s Future

The surprise American withdrawal from parts of northern Syria reshuffled old alliances and touched off a new stage of the eight-year war.

A small handful of libertarian-minded Republicans on Capitol Hill, including Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, have defended Mr. Trump’s decision as being consistent with the president’s campaign promise to end America’s intractable military conflicts.

“If we can save one American soldier from losing their life or limbs in another senseless middle eastern war, it is worthwhile,” Mr. Paul wrote on Twitter. “@realDonaldTrump knows this.”

It is unclear exactly how far congressional Republicans will go in their objections to Mr. Trump’s latest decision. Some of the president’s defenders who immediately vented their ire at the Syria withdrawal, including Mr. Graham, have since cooled their tone.

Mr. Graham, for example, released a long statement on Monday after meeting with Mr. Trump at the White House and joining a call with Mr. Erdogan.

“The president’s team has a plan and I intend to support them as strongly as possible, and to give them reasonable time and space to achieve our mutual goals,” Mr. Graham said.

Representative Michael Waltz, Republican of Florida, who had sharply criticized the withdrawal, emerged from a meeting with the White House on Tuesday sounding reassured.

“It was useful to see a lot of the promises that Erdogan made the president and to understand how forcefully the president, Secretary Esper, told the Turks across the board not to do this,” Mr. Waltz said in a brief interview, referring to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper. Mr. Waltz added that the White House was “livid” with Mr. Erdogan.

Mr. Pence and Mr. Pompeo are to meet on Thursday with the Turkish president to relay Mr. Trump’s demand that Mr. Erdogan negotiate a cease-fire, and to reiterate the president’s threat to impose economic sanctions if he does not.

Mr. Trump is also set to meet with Mr. Erdogan in November at the White House. But lawmakers on Wednesday called for the president to cancel the talks.

“Erdogan’s attack on our Kurdish partners has served to liberate ISIS prisoners, bolster the Assad regime, and strengthen Russia,” said Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee. “His invitation to the White House should be revoked.”

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Bipartisan House Majority Condemns Trump for Syria Withdrawal

WASHINGTON — The House on Wednesday dealt a stinging bipartisan rebuke to President Trump for his decision to withdraw American forces just inside Syria’s border, registering overwhelming opposition in Congress to a move that has thrown the region into bloody chaos and unraveled Middle East policy.

In a rare break with a president they are normally unwilling to criticize, two-thirds of House Republicans, including all of the party’s elected leaders, joined Democrats in approving a resolution that opposed Mr. Trump’s acquiescence to the Turkish assault against the Kurds, who have been crucial American allies in the fight against the Islamic State. The measure passed, 354 to 60, in the most significant bipartisan repudiation of Mr. Trump since he took office.

It enraged the president, who lashed out at Democratic congressional leaders at the White House shortly afterward at a meeting called to discuss the incursion, which devolved into a bitter confrontation in which he hurled insults at Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she pointedly mentioned the devastating vote tally.

“He was shaken up by it,” Ms. Pelosi said of the resounding support, including by Republicans, for the resolution.

The vote unfolded only hours before Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were to travel to Ankara, Turkey, to call for a cease-fire in a battle the president appears to have greenlit.

“At President Trump’s hands, American leadership has been laid low, and American foreign policy has become nothing more than a tool to advance his own interests,” said Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who introduced the measure. “Today we make clear that the Congress is a coequal branch of government and we want nothing to do with this disastrous policy.”

The measure, which was largely symbolic, upbraided the withdrawal as “beneficial to adversaries of the United States government” including Russia, Syria and Iran, and called on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to immediately end unilateral military action in northern Syria. A companion measure in the Senate, sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Todd Young, Republican of Indiana, was introduced on Tuesday.

Westlake Legal Group white-house-trump-letter-promo-1571261887115-articleLarge Bipartisan House Majority Condemns Trump for Syria Withdrawal Van Hollen, Christopher Jr United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syria Paul, Rand Kurds Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Cheney, Liz

Read Trump’s Letter to Turkey’s President

Trump said he’d written the “very powerful” letter to warn the Turkish leader.

Even as Mr. Trump defended his decision to pull American troops out of northern Syria, telling reporters at the White House that the battle there had “nothing to do with us,” Republicans and Democrats lined up on the House floor to denounce his action.

“Because of this decision and inaction that led up to this decision, we have let our friends down, we have hurt our national security and we have ceded leadership in the region to Russia and Iran,” said Representative Will Hurd, Republican of Texas and a former C.I.A. officer who is retiring. “I hope we can change our course, but I fear it may be too late.”

The resolution drew support from 129 Republicans including all three of the party’s House leaders, while 60 opposed it and three — Representatives Chip Roy of Texas, Jody B. Hice of Georgia and Bob Gibbs of Ohio — voted present. Representative Justin Amash, independent of Michigan, also voted present.

The resolution was not the first bipartisan rebuke by Congress of Mr. Trump’s mercurial approach to foreign policy. The president’s allies on Capitol Hill have shown they are most comfortable criticizing him on matters of international affairs, and have previously joined Democrats to denounce his administration’s unflagging support of Saudi Arabia after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist. And they declared their disapproval this year of attempts to withdraw American forces from Syria in a bipartisan effort led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader.

But Mr. Trump’s decision last week to essentially clear the way for a Turkish military operation against America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria has provoked the strongest response yet from Republicans, including many of the president’s most reliable allies.

Mr. McConnell opened his weekly news conference on Wednesday by expressing his “gratitude to the Kurds,” and added, “I’m sorry that we are where we are.”

After Mr. Trump said Wednesday that Turkey’s invasion into Syria had nothing to do with us” and that the Kurds “are no angels,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, called it “an astonishing statement which I completely and totally reject.”

Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 Republican, wrote on Twitter that it is “Impossible to understand why @realDonaldTrump is leaving America’s allies to be slaughtered and enabling the return of ISIS.”

Hawkish lawmakers like Ms. Cheney and Mr. Graham, as well as Democratic leaders in the House, are preparing additional legislative action to punish the Turks’ incursion. Mr. Graham introduced a sanctions package with Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, last week, that would impose harsher sanctions on Turkey than the White House has enacted, including the prohibition of American military assistance and the freezing of the American assets of Mr. Erdogan and other Turkish leaders.

Westlake Legal Group syria-turkey-promo-1571094797315-articleLarge-v3 Bipartisan House Majority Condemns Trump for Syria Withdrawal Van Hollen, Christopher Jr United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syria Paul, Rand Kurds Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Cheney, Liz

4 Big Questions About Syria’s Future

The surprise American withdrawal from parts of northern Syria reshuffled old alliances and touched off a new stage of the eight-year war.

A small handful of libertarian-minded Republicans on Capitol Hill, including Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, have defended Mr. Trump’s decision as being consistent with the president’s campaign promise to end America’s intractable military conflicts.

“If we can save one American soldier from losing their life or limbs in another senseless middle eastern war, it is worthwhile,” Mr. Paul wrote on Twitter. “@realDonaldTrump knows this.”

It is unclear exactly how far congressional Republicans will go in their objections to Mr. Trump’s latest decision. Some of the president’s defenders who immediately vented their ire at the Syria withdrawal, including Mr. Graham, have since cooled their tone.

Mr. Graham, for example, released a long statement on Monday after meeting with Mr. Trump at the White House and joining a call with Mr. Erdogan.

“The president’s team has a plan and I intend to support them as strongly as possible, and to give them reasonable time and space to achieve our mutual goals,” Mr. Graham said.

Representative Michael Waltz, Republican of Florida, who had sharply criticized the withdrawal, emerged from a meeting with the White House on Tuesday sounding reassured.

“It was useful to see a lot of the promises that Erdogan made the president and to understand how forcefully the president, Secretary Esper, told the Turks across the board not to do this,” Mr. Waltz said in a brief interview, referring to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper. Mr. Waltz added that the White House was “livid” with Mr. Erdogan.

Mr. Pence and Mr. Pompeo are to meet on Thursday with the Turkish president to relay Mr. Trump’s demand that Mr. Erdogan negotiate a cease-fire, and to reiterate the president’s threat to impose economic sanctions if he does not.

Mr. Trump is also set to meet with Mr. Erdogan in November at the White House. But lawmakers on Wednesday called for the president to cancel the talks.

“Erdogan’s attack on our Kurdish partners has served to liberate ISIS prisoners, bolster the Assad regime, and strengthen Russia,” said Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee. “His invitation to the White House should be revoked.”

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Turkey Launches Offensive Against U.S.-Backed Syrian Militia

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Turkey launched a ground and air assault on Wednesday against a Syrian militia that has been a crucial American ally in the fight against ISIS, days after President Trump agreed to let the operation proceed.

As Turkish warplanes bombed Syrian towns and troops crossed the border, the chaos in Washington continued, with President Trump issuing seemingly contradictory policy statements in the face of strident opposition from his Republican allies in Congress.

Mr. Trump acquiesced to the Turkish operation in a call with Turkey’s president on Sunday, agreeing to move American troops out of Turkey’s way despite opposition from his own State Department and military.

On Wednesday, hours after the operation began, he condemned it, calling it “a bad idea.”

By that time, Turkish fighter jets were streaking through the sky over Syrian towns, while artillery shells boomed overhead. Traffic was jammed with terrified civilians fleeing south in trucks piled high with possessions and children.

After about six hours of airstrikes, Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies crossed the border, opening a ground offensive.

At least seven people were killed in the Turkish attacks on Wednesday, according to the Rojava Information Center, an activist group in northeastern Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a conflict monitor based in Britain, put the toll at eight.

Where Turkish forces struck Kurdish-held areas

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-600 Turkey Launches Offensive Against U.S.-Backed Syrian Militia United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Ras al-Ain

KURDISH

Control

Turkey’s proposed

buffer zone

Government

Control

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

KURDISH

Control

Other

opposition

Government

Control

Deir al-Zour

Albu Kamal

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-335 Turkey Launches Offensive Against U.S.-Backed Syrian Militia United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Ras al-Ain

Turkey’s proposed

buffer zone

Turkish army

AND syrian

opposition

KURDISH

Control

Other

opposition

Government

Control

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-300 Turkey Launches Offensive Against U.S.-Backed Syrian Militia United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Ras al-Ain

Turkey’s proposed

buffer zone

Turkish army

AND syrian

opposition

KURDISH

Control

Other

opposition

Government

Control

Sources: Times reporting; Control areas via Conflict Monitor by IHS Markit | By Sarah Almukhtar, Allison McCann and Anjali Singhvi

Turkey’s long-planned move to root out American-allied Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria could open a dangerous new front in Syria’s eight-year-old war, pitting two United States allies against each other and raising the specter of sectarian bloodletting. Even before it began, it had set off fierce debates in Washington, with members of Congress accusing Mr. Trump of betraying the militia that fought beside the United States to defeat ISIS.

There were also concerns that the militia, the Syrian Democratic Forces, would shift its forces to the north to fight Turkey, creating a power vacuum elsewhere that could benefit President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, his Russian and Iranian allies, or the Islamic State.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, usually a staunch Trump ally, accused him of having “shamelessly abandoned” America’s Kurdish allies, a move that “ensures the re-emergence of ISIS.”

Mr. Trump has insisted that “in no way have we abandoned the Kurds,” and on Wednesday said he firmly opposed the operation.

“The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea,” he said in a statement.

“Turkey,” he added, “has committed to protecting civilians, protecting religious minorities, including Christians, and ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place — and we will hold them to this commitment.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_162421074_9fe2c115-9fad-43cc-ba8c-0272e68e73e6-articleLarge Turkey Launches Offensive Against U.S.-Backed Syrian Militia United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Smoke billowing after a Turkish bombardment in Ras al Ain, Syria, on Wednesday.CreditDelil Souleiman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed back against the idea that Mr. Trump had given Turkey a green light.

American forces pulled back from the border after “it became very clear that there were American soldiers that were going to be at risk,” he said in an interview on “PBS News Hour.”

“The president,” Mr. Pompeo added, “made a decision to put them in a place where they were out of harm’s way.”

The United States withdrew 50 to 100 troops from the border area in advance of the operation, and American military officials said that the United States was not providing assistance to either side. However, the United States was providing intelligence to Turkey until Monday, which may have helped it target Kurdish forces.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the operation intended to “prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border.” Turkey considers the militia a terrorist organization linked to a Kurdish guerrilla movement.

He did not say how far into Syria that Turkish forces would go, but he has previously called for a Turkish-controlled buffer zone 20 miles deep into Syria extending for hundreds of miles along the border.

“Turkey has no ambition in northeastern Syria except to neutralize a longstanding threat against Turkish citizens and to liberate the local population from the yoke of armed thugs,” a government spokesman, Fahrettin Altun, wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post.

The attacks on Wednesday were broad, with strikes hitting in or near at least five towns along a stretch of more than 150 miles of the Syrian-Turkish border.

The most intensive strikes were near Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain, two towns that United States forces withdrew from on Monday. But they also targeted the larger towns of Kobani and Qamishli, where one strike left a building in flames and a dead body on the sidewalk, according to a video shot by a local journalist.

“There is a state of fear and terror among the people here, and the women and children are leaving the town,” said Akrem Saleh, a local journalist reached by phone in Ras al Ain. Many men were staying home because they feared that the Syrian rebels who accompanied the Turks would loot them if they were found empty.

The sound of bombardment shook the town of Akcakale, Turkey, just yards across the border from Tel Abyad. Schools were closed and children played in the streets, waving flags and cheering a convoy of armored personnel carriers heading to the border.

Loudspeakers blared Ottoman martial music interspersed with stern announcements urging people not to gather in large groups and to stay away from houses facing the border.

“All day they were announcing,” said Fehima Kirboga, 46, as she sat with a relative on the sidewalk in the cool of the evening. “We are very anxious but where can we go?”

The Syrian Democratic Forces warned of a “possible humanitarian catastrophe” because of the Turkish incursion. The Kurdish-led administration that governs the area issued a call for “general mobilization” to fight the Turks.

“We call upon our people, of all ethnic groups, to move toward areas close to the border with Turkey to carry out acts of resistance during this sensitive historical time,” it said.

Michael Maldonado, 31, a former Marine lance corporal from California who was among a handful of American volunteers fighting with the Kurds, said it did not matter to him that Turkey was a NATO ally.

“Ally or not, we are going to fight,” he said in a phone interview from his position less than 20 miles from the Turkish border in eastern Syria. “We see a strong country coming to massacre people who are just trying to live their lives, and we are going to try stop this. We feel we have no choice.”

The United States military, which had been working with the Syrian Democratic Forces to fight remnants of the Islamic State in Syria, has cut off all support to the militia, two American military officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential military assessments.

But for the last few weeks, as Turkish military officials planned the assault, they received American surveillance video and information from reconnaissance aircraft that may have helped them track Kurdish forces.

Because of an American counterterrorism partnership with Turkey, Turkish aircraft were given access to a suite of American battlefield intelligence in northeast Syria. Turkey was removed from the intelligence-sharing program only on Monday, a Defense Department official said.

One official said that United States warplanes and surveillance aircraft remained in the area to defend the remaining American ground forces in northeast Syria, but said they would not contest Turkish warplanes attacking Kurdish positions.

The commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces, Mazlum Kobani, told The New York Times on Tuesday that a fight with Turkey could pull his forces out of areas where the Islamic State remains a threat, opening a void that could benefit President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his Russian and Iranian backers, or the jihadists.

American officials said Tuesday that the militia was already beginning to leave some of their counterterrorism missions against ISIS.

In addition to that concern, there are worries about the prisons and camps the militia oversees in northeastern Syria that hold tens of thousands of captured Islamic State fighters and their families.

Mr. Trump said Wednesday that Turkey should take control of the detainees.

“Turkey is now responsible for ensuring all ISIS fighters being held captive remain in prison and that ISIS does not reconstitute in any way, shape, or form,” he said in his statement.

But leaders of the Syrian Democratic Forces say there have been no discussions with the United States about handing over the facilities, and the Turkish forces are more than 70 miles away.

Turkey made efforts to win diplomatic support for its operation, informing the United States, Russia, Britain, NATO and the secretary general of the United Nations, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry.

The NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, urged Turkey “to act with restraint” and to ensure that “the gains we have made in the fight against ISIS are not jeopardized.”

Amélie de Montchalin, the French junior minister for European affairs, said that France, Germany and Britain were drafting a joint statement condemning the Turkish offensive.

A number of countries, including Russia and Iran, both allies of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, called for talks to calm the situation.

The United Nations Security Council was to discuss the issue on Thursday after requests by European members. Mr. Stoltenberg said he planned to meet with Mr. Erdogan on Friday.

A military coalition led by the United States partnered with a Kurdish militia beginning in 2015 to fight Islamic State extremists who had seized a territory that was the size of Britain and spanned the Syrian-Iraqi border. That militia grew into the Syrian Democratic Forces, which led the fight against the Islamic State and eventually took control of the areas it liberated.

Since then it has held the territory with the aid of about 1,000 American troops. Mr. Trump has repeatedly sought to withdraw them from Syria as part of his longstanding promise to extricate the United States from what he deems “endless wars.”

But he has faced fierce pushback from others in Washington, including from Republican lawmakers, who vocally opposed the Turkish operation on Wednesday.

The night before the operation, Senator Graham warned Turkey not to proceed.

“To the Turkish Government: You do NOT have a green light to enter into northern Syria,” he wrote. “There is massive bipartisan opposition in Congress, which you should see as a red line you should not cross.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Calls Turkey’s Syrian Offensive a ‘Bad Idea,’ But Opposes ‘Senseless Wars’

Westlake Legal Group merlin_162427434_6b81aae3-41d9-41c2-aa05-075aabae67e0-facebookJumbo Trump Calls Turkey’s Syrian Offensive a ‘Bad Idea,’ But Opposes ‘Senseless Wars’ United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syria Graham, Lindsey Cheney, Liz

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday called a Turkish military operation along the border with Syria “a bad idea” but reiterated his opposition to “endless, senseless wars,” striking a far milder tone than outraged members of Congress, foreign allies and officials in his own administration, who said the incursion must be stopped.

In a statement issued by the White House, Mr. Trump asserted that “Turkey has committed to protecting civilians, protecting religious minorities, including Christians, and ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place.”

He said he was holding the country responsible for preventing the release of Islamic State fighters who are being held captive in the area and for ensuring “that ISIS does not reconstitute in any way, shape or form.”

But Mr. Trump limited his criticism of Turkey, making no mention of taking punitive action, while Republicans on Capitol Hill were sharply critical of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for following through with a plan he disclosed to Mr. Trump in a phone call on Sunday. And Pentagon officials privately expressed their anger over Mr. Trump’s sudden and unplanned shift in what had been American policy for years to oppose Turkey’s longtime desire to seize territory across its border with Syria.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close ally of Mr. Trump’s who often speaks and plays golf with the president, said in an interview that he had reached an agreement with Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, to offer “severe” sanctions legislation against Turkey, which Mr. Graham predicted would have “widespread bipartisan support.”

“What you’ll be seeing in the coming days is Congress filling in the vacuum,” Mr. Graham said, likening Mr. Trump’s posture to President Barack Obama’s deep-seated aversion to engagement in Syria. “Obama basically took a pass on Syria and the rest is history. We can’t afford to make that same mistake twice.”

In a joint statement, Mr. Graham and Mr. Van Hollen said their bill would punish senior Turkish government officials and ban American military transactions with Turkey. The measure would also impose sanctions on Turkey for its purchase of a sophisticated Russian-made missile defense system. Mr. Trump has avoided enforcing those sanctions, which members of Congress insist are mandatory under a 2017 law meant to penalize countries for doing business with Russia’s military.

“This invasion will ensure the resurgence of ISIS in Syria, embolden America’s enemies including Al Qaeda, Iran and Russia, and launch yet another endless conflict in what had been, until today, one of the most safe and stable areas of Syria and a region experimenting with the best model of local governance currently available in that war-torn country,” the senators said in their statement.

“Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump administration,” Mr. Graham wrote on Twitter earlier in the day.

Echoing Mr. Graham, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming tweeted that news of the Turkish action was “sickening.” She accused the president of “leaving America’s allies to be slaughtered and enabling the return of ISIS.”

But Mr. Trump was not without his defenders in Congress. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican who often speaks with the president and has repeatedly pushed him to avoid foreign conflicts, wrote on Twitter that Mr. Trump “is stopping the endless wars and we will be stronger as a result. The Cheney/Graham Neocon War Caucus has cost us too much fighting endless wars.”

Prominent Democrats also denounced the Turkish move, and criticized Mr. Trump for failing to coordinate his decision to pull back American troops from the area — in effect clearing the way for Turkey to attack — with American generals and allies.

But at the Pentagon, where more than five years of fighting alongside Kurdish troops in Iraq and Syria has now given way to standing aside as those same allies are attacked, some officials said there was more anger than they had seen at any point in Mr. Trump’s presidency.

As recently as last week, Defense Department officials had been assured by Turkish military officials that they were not seeking to launch an invasion of Syria. Nor were officials expecting Mr. Trump, in his Sunday call with Mr. Erdogan, to open the door for a Turkish offensive by deciding to remove the 50 to 100 American troops in the northeastern portion of Syria, where Mr. Erdogan wants to create a “safe zone.”

A person briefed about the call said the discussion between Mr. Trump and Mr. Erdogan was wide-ranging, until Mr. Erdogan, in the second half of the call, complained that the United States was not fully complying with an agreement struck with Turkey in September to jointly create a safe zone in northeastern Syria. Mr. Erdogan said he intended to unilaterally establish one immediately.

Mr. Trump demurred, evidently believing that Mr. Erdogan would not be willing to risk the president’s ire. But Mr. Erdogan effectively “called the president’s bluff,” the person said. What followed was a scramble to move American personnel from harm’s way in northern Syria.

In the days since, Mr. Trump has made repeated references to his desire to withdraw from Syria and avoid the “stupid endless wars” against which he campaigned in 2016. But that has furthered the impression — both in the United States but, perhaps more important, in Turkey — that Mr. Trump had blessed Mr. Erdogan’s proposed incursion.

A Kurdish-led militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces has fought alongside the United States in the campaign against the Islamic State over the past five years. Mr. Erdogan sees Syria’s Kurdish fighters as an enemy, and wants to flush them out of a safe zone along his country’s southern border with Syria, which has been devastated by a civil war of more than eight years. The conflict has produced an exodus of roughly one million Syrian refugees into Turkey whom Ankara wants to relocate into a secured zone across the border.

The long-term reverberations in Washington will depend on the extent of the Turkish operation, which remains unclear.

On Monday, Mr. Trump warned that if Turkey did anything that he considered “off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey.” Mr. Trump has not clearly defined those limits, although asked by reporters on Wednesday what he would do if Mr. Erdogan wiped out the Kurds in Syria, Mr. Trump replied: “I will wipe out his economy if he does that.”

That supports the view of analysts who say the real red line for Mr. Trump and many members of Congress is not a matter of territory but rather the killing of Kurdish fighters.

Soner Cagaptay, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he believed that Mr. Erdogan would calibrate any offensive to limit casualties that would prompt a major response from Congress and potentially humiliate Mr. Trump. He also said Turkey appeared to be moving on Arab-majority areas where its military would be more welcome than in heavily Kurdish areas nearby.

“I would say this is a war that is not a war,” Mr. Cagaptay said. “We’re not going to see fighting of epic proportions. It’s coordinated and pre-orchestrated.”

But national security officials are especially worried about how a Turkish offensive could affect the continuing fight against the Islamic State, which — thanks in large measure to the Kurdish-led forces now under attack — has lost its territorial holdings in Syria but which officials say has been gaining new momentum in both Syria and Iraq.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Democrat of New Hampshire and a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, noted that Mr. Erdogan had not publicly committed to Mr. Trump’s demands that his country take responsibility for any freed Islamic State captives in the area, or a local resurgence of the terrorist group.

“We know that terrorism in Syria does not stay in Syria,” Ms. Shaheen said in a statement. “President Erdogan, despite his claims, does not have the support of the international community for this operation and he refuses to assure the U.S. that he will guard ISIS detention facilities in the area and prevent ISIS from once again gaining a foothold in the region. I’m afraid we are dangerously close to the point of no return.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Calls Turkey’s Syrian Offensive a ‘Bad Idea’

Westlake Legal Group merlin_162427434_6b81aae3-41d9-41c2-aa05-075aabae67e0-facebookJumbo Trump Calls Turkey’s Syrian Offensive a ‘Bad Idea’ United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syria Graham, Lindsey Cheney, Liz

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday called a Turkish military operation along the border with Syria “a bad idea” but reiterated his opposition to “endless, senseless wars,” even as leading Republicans expressed outrage and said the Turkish offensive could inflict lasting damage on Washington’s relationship with its NATO ally.

“The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea,” Mr. Trump said in a statement released by the White House.

Noting that American soldiers had been moved from the area in advance, Mr. Trump limited his criticism of Turkey and made no mention of punitive action against it.

That was a contrast with the response from Capitol Hill, where Republicans were sharply critical of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for following through with a plan he disclosed to Mr. Trump in a Sunday phone call.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican of South Carolina and a close ally of Mr. Trump’s who often speaks and golfs with the president, wrote on Twitter that a Turkish entry into Syria would be “a disaster in the making.”

“Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump administration,” he added. “This move ensures the re-emergence of ISIS.”

Mr. Graham added that he would urge the president to “change course,” and renewed a vow to punish Turkey in Congress with severe economic sanctions.

A Kurdish-led militia has fought alongside the United States in the campaign against the Islamic State, or ISIS, over the past five years. But Mr. Erdogan sees Syria’s Kurdish fighters as an enemy, and wants to create a “buffer zone” along his country’s southern border with Syria, which has been devastated by a civil war of more than eight years.

Mr. Trump asserted in his statement that “Turkey has committed to protecting civilians, protecting religious minorities, including Christians, and ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place.” He said he was holding the country responsible for preventing the release of ISIS fighters who are being held captive in the area and for ensuring “that ISIS does not reconstitute in any way, shape, or form.”

But echoing Mr. Graham, another leading Republican voice on foreign policy, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, wrote on Twitter that news of the Turkish action was “sickening.” She accused Mr. Trump of “leaving America’s allies to be slaughtered and enabling the return of ISIS.”

The Pentagon said the United States was providing no assistance to the Syrian-led militia and was drawing up contingency plans to withdraw all 1,000 American troops from northeast Syria if Turkey pushed deeper into Syrian territory.

As of noon on Wednesday, the United States military assessed that the Turkish operation was limited in scope, and that Turkish troops had not actually crossed the Syrian border. But one official said that Turkish artillery and mortar fire into Syria was intended to weaken any resistance before Turkish ground troops advanced.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Turkey Launches Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Turkey launched airstrikes and fired artillery across its border into northeastern Syria on Wednesday to open a military operation aimed at flushing out an American-backed militia, Turkish and Syrian officials said.

Turkish television stations broadcast video of fighter jets taking off, Howitzers firing and smoke rising from Syrian towns, while images posted on social media showed Syrians fleeing in trucks piled high with their possessions and children. Two civilians were killed and others were wounded, a militia spokesman and a local journalist said.

Turkey’s long-planned move to root out United States-allied Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria has accelerated rapidly since President Trump gave the operation a green light in a call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on Sunday.

The operation could open a dangerous new front in Syria’s eight-year-old war, pitting two United States allies against each other and raising the specter of sectarian bloodletting. Even before it began, it had set off fierce debates in Washington over Mr. Trump’s Syria policy.

On Wednesday, after the operation had begun, Mr. Trump clarified his position.

“The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea,” he said in a statement.

“Turkey,” he added, “has committed to protecting civilians, protecting religious minorities, including Christians, and ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place — and we will hold them to this commitment.”

Where Turkish forces struck Kurdish-held areas

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-600 Turkey Launches Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Ras al-Ain

KURDISH

Control

Turkey’s proposed

buffer zone

Government

Control

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

KURDISH

Control

Other

opposition

Government

Control

Deir al-Zour

Albu Kamal

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-335 Turkey Launches Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Ras al-Ain

Turkey’s proposed

buffer zone

Turkish army

AND syrian

opposition

KURDISH

Control

Other

opposition

Government

Control

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-300 Turkey Launches Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Ras al-Ain

Turkey’s proposed

buffer zone

Turkish army

AND syrian

opposition

KURDISH

Control

Other

opposition

Government

Control

Source: Airstrike locations via Reuters; Control areas via Conflict Monitor by IHS Markit | The New York Times

The United States withdrew from 50 to 100 troops from the border area in advance of the operation, and American military officials said that the United States was not providing assistance to either side.

Mr. Erdogan said the operation aimed to “prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border,” but provided no other information about whether Turkish ground troops had entered Syria or how far they would go.

A spokesman for the United States-backed militia, the Syrian Democratic Forces, said that Turkish warplanes had begun carrying out airstrikes.

Civilians were fleeing the border towns of Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad, which were being pounded by airstrikes and shelling.

“There is a huge panic among people of the region,” the spokesman, Mustafa Bali, wrote on Twitter.

“There is a state of fear and terror among the people here and the women and children are leaving the town,” said Akrem Saleh, a local journalist reached by phone in Ras al Ain. Many of the men were staying at home because they feared that Syrian rebels backed by the Turks would loot them if they found them empty.

Mr. Saleh and Mr. Bali, the militia spokesman, said that two civilians had been killed in a nearby village by a Turkish strike.

The bombings reverberated in the town of Akcakale, Turkey, just yards across the border from Tel Abyad. Schools were closed and children played in the streets, waving flags and cheering a convoy of armored personnel carriers heading to the border.

Loudspeakers blared Ottoman martial music interspersed with stern announcements urging people not to gather in large groups and to stay away from houses facing the border.

“All day they were announcing,” said Fehima Kirboga, 46, as she sat with a relative on the sidewalk in the cool of the evening. “We are very anxious but where can we go?”

Mr. Erdogan had been threatening to send troops into northeastern Syria to uproot the militia, which the United States has partnered with for years to fight the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Turkey considers the militia a terrorist organization linked to a Kurdish guerrilla movement.

In an op-ed in The Washington Post, a government spokesman, Fahrettin Altun, wrote that Turkish forces, with their Syrian rebel allies, “will cross the Turkish-Syrian border shortly.”

“Turkey has no ambition in northeastern Syria except to neutralize a longstanding threat against Turkish citizens and to liberate the local population from the yoke of armed thugs,” he wrote.

The Syrian Democratic Forces said the area was “on the edge of possible humanitarian catastrophe” because of the looming Turkish incursion.

“This attack will spill the blood of thousands of innocent civilians because our border areas are overcrowded,” the group said in a statement.

The Kurdish-led administration that governs the area issued a call for “general mobilization” to fight the Turks.

“We call upon our people, of all ethnic groups, to move toward areas close to the border with Turkey to carry out acts of resistance during this sensitive historical time,” it said.

The United States military, which had been working with the Syrian Democratic Forces in the region to fight remnants of the Islamic State, has cut off all support to the militia, two American military officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential military assessments.

One official said that United States warplanes and surveillance aircraft remained in the area to defend the remaining American ground forces in northeast Syria, but said they would not contest any Turkish warplanes attacking Kurdish positions.

Mr. Trump reiterated his opposition to United States military presence in the Middle East, writing on Twitter that “USA should never have been in Middle East.”

He said that Turkey should take control of captured Islamic State fighters from Europe whose countries had refused to take them back and who are were imprisoned in northeast Syria.

“Turkey is now responsible for ensuring all ISIS fighters being held captive remain in prison and that ISIS does not reconstitute in any way, shape, or form,” he said in his statement.

Tens of thousands of Islamic State fighters and their families are in prisons and camps overseen by the Syrian Democratic Forces, whose leaders say there have been no discussions with the United States about handing over the facilities.

Turkey made efforts to win diplomatic support for its operation, informing the United States, Russia, Britain, NATO and the secretary general of the United Nations, the Turkish Defense Ministry said.

The NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg urged Turkey, a NATO member, “to act with restraint” and to ensure that “the gains we have made in the fight against ISIS are not jeopardized.”

Amélie de Montchalin, the French junior minister for European affairs, said that France, Germany and Britain were drafting a joint statement that would be “extremely clear about the fact that we very strongly, very firmly condemn” the Turkish offensive.

A number of countries, including Russia and Iran, both allies of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, called for talks to calm the situation instead of military action.

The United Nations Security Council was to discuss the issue on Thursday after requests by European members. Mr. Stoltenberg said he planned to meet with Mr. Erdogan on Friday.

A military coalition led by the United States partnered with a Kurdish militia beginning in 2015 to fight Islamic State extremists who had seized a territory the size of Britain that spanned the Syrian-Iraqi border. That militia grew into the Syrian Democratic Forces and eventually took control of the areas liberated from the Islamic State, pushing it from its last foothold in Syria earlier this year.

But the partnership angered Turkey, which considers the militia a part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., a Kurdish guerrilla movement that has been fighting the Turkish state for decades.

In recent days, Turkey has been preparing an incursion, with forces bused to the border and howitzers positioned behind dirt embankments, pointed at Syrian territory.

After a phone call with Mr. Erdogan on Sunday, the White House announced that Turkey would be sending forces into Syria and said the United States would move American troops out of their way.

On Monday, United States soldiers withdrew from observation posts near the Syrian border towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain, in the area where Turkey is expected to enter.

The commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces, Mazlum Kobani, told The New York Times on Tuesday that his forces would resist any attempt by Turkey to establish a foothold in Syria.

Mr. Kobani and a range of current and former United States officials have warned that a new fight with Turkey could pull his forces out of areas where the Islamic State remains a threat, opening a void that could benefit President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his Russian and Iranian backers, or the jihadists. American officials said Tuesday that the militia was already beginning to leave some of their counterterrorism missions against ISIS.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly sought to withdraw the roughly 1,000 American troops posted in northeastern Syria as part of his longstanding promise to extricate the United States from what he deems “endless wars.”

But he has faced fierce pushback from others in Washington, including from Republican lawmakers.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump sought to clarify his position, writing on Twitter that the United States had “in no way abandoned the Kurds,” but that it also had good trade relations with Turkey.

He threatened that “any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey” would be “devastating” to its economy and currency, but without explaining what sort of action would cross the line.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, addressed Turkey on his own Twitter account on Tuesday, warning the country not to go ahead with the operation.

“To the Turkish Government: You do NOT have a green light to enter into northern Syria,” Mr. Graham wrote. “There is massive bipartisan opposition in Congress, which you should see as a red line you should not cross.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Turkey Begins Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Turkey launched a planned military operation in northeastern Syria on Wednesday aimed at flushing out a Syrian militia backed by the United States, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Erdogan said the operation aimed to “prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border,” but provided no other information about whether Turkish ground troops had entered Syria or how far in they would go.

A spokesman for the United States-backed militia, the Syrian Democratic Forces, said that Turkish warplanes had begun carrying out airstrikes.

Civilians were reported to be fleeing the border towns of Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad, which were being pounded by airstrikes and shelling, Reuters reported. “There is a huge panic among people of the region,” the spokesman, Mustafa Bali, wrote.

Where Turkish forces struck Kurdish-held areas

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-600 Turkey Begins Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Ras al-Ain

KURDISH

Control

Turkey’s proposed

buffer zone

Government

Control

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

KURDISH

Control

Other

opposition

Government

Control

Deir al-Zour

Albu Kamal

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-335 Turkey Begins Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Ras al-Ain

Turkey’s proposed

buffer zone

Turkish army

AND syrian

opposition

KURDISH

Control

Other

opposition

Government

Control

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-300 Turkey Begins Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Ras al-Ain

Turkey’s proposed

buffer zone

Turkish army

AND syrian

opposition

KURDISH

Control

Other

opposition

Government

Control

Source: Airstrike locations via Reuters; Control areas via Conflict Monitor by IHS Markit | The New York Times

Turkey’s long-planned move to root out United States-allied Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria accelerated rapidly after President Trump seemingly gave a green light in a call with Mr. Erdogan on Sunday. The operation has sparked fierce debates in Washington and could open a dangerous new front in Syria’s eight-year-old war.

Earlier Wednesday, the Syrian Democractic Forces had mobilized and warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe” as Turkey massed troops near the countries’ border for an incursion it said would begin “shortly.”

New violence between Turkey and the United States-backed Syrian Democratic Forces pits two United States allies against each other in ethnically tinged battles, leaving Washington in an awkward position.

Mr. Erdogan has been threatening to send troops into northeastern Syria to uproot the militia, which the United States has partnered with for years to fight the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Turkey considers the militia a terrorist organization linked to a Kurdish guerrilla movement.

In an op-ed in The Washington Post on Wednesday, Fahrettin Altun, Turkey’s communications director, wrote that Turkish forces, with their Syrian rebel allies, “will cross the Turkish-Syrian border shortly.”

“Turkey has no ambition in northeastern Syria except to neutralize a longstanding threat against Turkish citizens and to liberate the local population from the yoke of armed thugs,” he wrote.

For its part, the Syrian Democratic Forces said the area was “on the edge of possible humanitarian catastrophe” because of the looming Turkish incursion.

“This attack will spill the blood of thousands of innocent civilians because our border areas are overcrowded,” the group said in a statement.

The Kurdish-led administration that governs the area issued a call for “general mobilization” to fight the Turks.

“We call upon our people, of all ethnic groups, to move toward areas close to the border with Turkey to carry out acts of resistance during this sensitive historical time,” it said.

Early Wednesday, Mr. Trump reiterated his opposition to United States military presence in the Middle East, writing on Twitter that “USA should never have been in Middle East.”

He said that Turkey should take control of captured Islamic State fighters from Europe whose countries had refused to take them back and who are were imprisoned in northeast Syria.

“The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!” Mr. Trump wrote.

Tens of thousands of Islamic State fighters and their families are in prisons and camps overseen by the Syrian Democratic Forces, whose leaders say there have been no discussions with the United States about handing over the facilities.

A military coalition led by the United States partnered with a Kurdish militia in northeastern Syria beginning in 2015 to fight Islamic State extremists who had seized a territory the size of Britain that spanned the Syrian-Iraqi border.

That militia grew into the Syrian Democratic Forces and eventually took control of the areas liberated from the Islamic State, pushing it from its last foothold in Syria earlier this year.

But the partnership angered Turkey, which considers the militia a part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., a Kurdish guerrilla movement that has been fighting the Turkish state for decades.

In recent days, Turkey has been preparing an incursion, with forces bused to the border and howitzers positioned behind dirt embankments, pointed at Syrian territory.

After a phone call with Mr. Erdogan on Sunday, the White House announced that Turkey would be sending forces into Syria and said the United States would not help or hinder their advance.

On Monday, United States soldiers withdrew from observation posts near the Syrian border towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain, in the area where Turkey is expected to enter.

The commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces, Mazlum Kobani, told The New York Times on Tuesday that his forces would resist any attempt by Turkey to establish a foothold in Syria.

His forces have been key to the United States effort to defeat the Islamic State in Syria, battles that left them holding more than a quarter of Syrian territory.

Mr. Kobani and a range of current and former United States officials have warned that a new fight with Turkey could pull his forces out of areas where the Islamic State remains a threat, opening a void that could benefit President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his Russian and Iranian backers, or the jihadists.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly sought to withdraw the roughly 1,000 American troops posted in northeastern Syria as part of his longstanding promise to extricate the United States from what he deems “endless wars.”

But he has faced fierce pushback from others in Washington, including from Republican lawmakers.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump sought to clarify his position, writing on Twitter that the United States had “in no way abandoned the Kurds,” but that it also had good trade relations with Turkey.

He threatened that “any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey” would be “devastating” to its economy and currency, but without explaining what sort of action would cross the line.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, addressed Turkey on his own Twitter account on Tuesday, warning the country not to go ahead with the operation.

“To the Turkish Government: You do NOT have a green light to enter into northern Syria,” Mr. Graham wrote. “There is massive bipartisan opposition in Congress, which you should see as a red line you should not cross.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

For Once, Republicans Break With Trump, but Not on Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group 08dc-hulse-facebookJumbo For Once, Republicans Break With Trump, but Not on Impeachment United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Romney, Mitt Republican Party Portman, Rob McConnell, Mitch Haley, Nikki R Graham, Lindsey

WASHINGTON — Senator Lindsey Graham, an unsparing critic of President Trump before he entered the White House, rarely if ever questions him anymore, even after the president urged foreign governments to investigate his political rivals.

But on Monday, Mr. Graham found something to criticize, and he could not have been tougher on Mr. Trump.

“I expect the American president to do what is in our national security interest, and it is never in our national security interest to abandon an ally,” Mr. Graham, Republican of South Carolina, railed on Fox News over Mr. Trump’s decision to pull back in Syria.

He and other Republicans joined Democrats in saying that the move could potentially clear the way for a Turkish offensive against Kurdish fighters who have helped the United States root out the Islamic State. Mr. Graham also delivered what could be considered the ultimate insult to Mr. Trump: comparing his Syria policy to that of his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Consistently assailed for refusing to stand up to the president, Senate Republicans this week briefly found their voices, bombarding Mr. Trump with public complaints over his Syria decision. The fleeting moment of dissonance revealed what has emerged as an informal rule of thumb among Republican senators who consider themselves foreign policy experts, with wide latitude to weigh in and potentially influence a president who has far less experience on the subject than they do. They are willing to break with Mr. Trump on matters of international affairs — but only when they believe there are no domestic political consequences for doing so.

Don’t expect the same reaction when it comes to Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, the subject of an accelerating impeachment fight. Republicans see that issue as an existential threat to the president and their party’s rule in Washington, and are reluctant to legitimize what they regard as an overreach by Democrats by joining in their criticism.

In fact, just a day after his harsh assessment of the president’s decision on Syria, Mr. Graham rushed to Mr. Trump’s defense in the Ukraine matter by announcing a hearing that could serve as a counterweight to the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry. He said on Tuesday that the Judiciary Committee, which he is the chairman of, would hear from Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, about “corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine,” which Mr. Trump has argued justified his pressure campaign to get the Ukrainian president to investigate Democrats.

When it comes to foreign policy, many senators have spent considerable time developing their expertise, making repeated trips to the Middle East and other hot spots and becoming deeply invested in their positions. They feel confident expressing their opinion, even when it is quite contrary to Mr. Trump’s.

“Many of us have been dealing with this for a decade or two decades, and I think there are a lot of visits to the area and a lot of discussions that stand behind our views on these issues,” said Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, who had previously counseled the White House on the necessity of maintaining forces in Syria. “This is an area where it has been a consistent concern that leaving those places would create bigger problems than staying.”

The opinions of Mr. Blunt and his colleagues also align with those of much of the Republican foreign policy establishment, current and former top members of the military, and many conservative media commentators, bolstering their willingness to speak out. There truly is strength in numbers. Just a few Republicans — notably Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah, both avowed members of the party’s noninterventionist wing — hailed the president’s decision.

“Foreign policy has always been Trump’s Achilles’ heal with Senate Republicans,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and former staff adviser to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, another Republican who faulted the president’s Syria decision — but not his comments about China and Ukraine. Mr. Conant said Republicans were also driven by their view that Mr. Trump’s foreign policy missteps were more damaging, requiring a more forceful response than his day-to-day incendiary statements.

“Everyone forgets Trump’s tweets after a couple of days,” Mr. Conant said. “But history will never forget if the U.S. allows our Kurdish allies to be massacred.”

At the same time, foreign policy — unlike, say, impeachment — is lower on the president’s priority list. Differences of opinion are less likely to spur him to lash out as he has in recent days, for example, at Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, after Mr. Romney said that the president’s requests of Ukraine and China to investigate Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. were “wrong and appalling.” Mr. Trump responded with name-calling, disparagement and a gleeful reminder of Mr. Obama’s defeat of Mr. Romney in 2012.

Foreign policy appears to be one of the few areas where Mr. Trump is willing to brook some difference of opinion. Pressed on Monday about the tough criticism of his Syria policy from the likes of Mr. Graham; Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, and Nikki R. Haley, Mr. Trump’s former United Nations ambassador, the president was uncharacteristically restrained.

“I have great respect for all of the people that you named,” Mr. Trump said. “And they have their opinion, and a lot of people do. And I could also name many more than you just named of people that totally are supportive. You see the names coming out; people are extremely thrilled because they say it’s time to bring our people back home.”

If Mr. Trump is less likely to be angered by criticism of his foreign policy, many Republicans believe their constituents will be as well. The issue usually does not stir the kind of base revolt and primary challenges back home that have become major concerns for Republicans who dare to cross Mr. Trump on other matters. While many of the president’s core supporters are no doubt eager to see him follow through on his campaign vow to end America’s overseas entanglements, plenty of other Republicans are worried about a premature withdrawal from a trouble spot and a potential resurgence of the Islamic State.

Taking on the president over his dealings with Ukraine, however, is another matter entirely. Even those such as Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, who have joined Mr. Romney in taking issue with Mr. Trump’s interactions with Ukrainian officials say that they don’t believe any offense claimed by Democrats rises to the level of impeachment.

The re-election campaign of Mr. McConnell, who felt compelled on Monday to encourage the president to exercise presidential leadership and reconsider his Syria plan, is currently behind online advertisements in which Mr. McConnell vows to use his position as majority leader to thwart impeachment even before any articles calling for the president’s ouster reach the Senate.

The break with Mr. Trump over Syria has another ancillary benefit for Republicans who are often accused of falling in line behind Mr. Trump like automatons even when he is at his most outrageous: It allows them to point to a significant policy development on which they have quickly and clearly spoken out against him. It cannot be said that they never differ with Mr. Trump, but those differences remain few and far between even as Democrats ramp up their effort to oust the president.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Throws Middle East Policy Into Turmoil Over Syria

Westlake Legal Group 07dc-prexy-01-facebookJumbo Trump Throws Middle East Policy Into Turmoil Over Syria United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces State Department Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense Department

WASHINGTON — President Trump threw Middle East policy into turmoil with a series of conflicting signals on Monday as his vow to withdraw American forces from the region touched off an uprising among congressional Republicans and protests by America’s allies.

Defending his decision to clear the way for a Turkish military operation against America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria, Mr. Trump said it was “time for us to get out” and let others “figure the situation out.” But after Republican allies condemned the move, he pivoted sharply and said he would restrain Turkey.

“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!),” the president wrote on Twitter, without explaining what exactly he would consider off limits.

Even after Mr. Trump walked back his decision, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, warned him against “a precipitous withdrawal” that would benefit Russia, Iran, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and the Islamic State. Mr. McConnell sharply urged the president to “exercise American leadership.”

A Defense Department official said that the president’s threat to destroy the Turkish economy should remove any ambiguity about whether Mr. Trump had endorsed a Turkish attack on the Kurds. “The Department of Defense made clear to Turkey — as did the president — that we do not endorse a Turkish operation in Northern Syria,” Jonathan Hoffman, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement. “The U.S. armed forces will not support, or be involved in any operation.”

The herky-jerky policy pronouncements kept supporters, foreign leaders, military officers and his own aides off balance as they tried to interpret Mr. Trump’s meaning and anticipate its consequences. The president has long agitated to get the United States out of what he considers fruitless overseas wars only to be pulled back to some extent by the national security establishment and congressional allies.

In this case, Mr. Trump seemed to be responding instinctively to a comment by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey near the end of a telephone call on Sunday. Rather than hold back Mr. Erdogan anymore, Mr. Trump promptly announced late that night that he would pull out American troops near the border who have served as a trip wire deterring Turkey from sending forces into Syria against Kurdish fighters allied with the United States.

By Monday morning, he was bombarded with complaints from both Republicans and Democrats, who charged that such a move would abandon some of United States’ most loyal and effective allies in the region, while emboldening some of America’s most threatening enemies.

[A look at who is affected by Trump’s shift in Syria.]

“If I didn’t see Donald Trump’s name on the tweet, I thought it was Obama’s rationale for getting out of Iraq,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and usually one of the president’s most vocal backers, said on Fox News.

As with President Barack Obama’s decision to pull out American troops from Iraq in 2011, Mr. Graham said, Mr. Trump’s withdrawal would create a vacuum for remnants of the Islamic State, Mr. Assad and others to surge forward again.

“This is a big win for Iran and Assad, a big win for ISIS,” Mr. Graham said, using another term for the Islamic State. “I will do everything I can to sanction Turkey if they step one foot in northeastern Syria. That will sever my relationship with Turkey. I think most of the Congress feels that way.”

Mr. Graham said he would also introduce a nonbinding resolution asking Mr. Trump to reconsider his move, which he called “shortsighted and irresponsible.” The president’s assertion that the Islamic State has been defeated is “the biggest lie being told by the administration,” Mr. Graham added.

Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a member of the House Republican leadership, called withdrawing United States forces from northern Syria “a catastrophic mistake.” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said it would be “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria.”

Nikki R. Haley, Mr. Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, joined the chorus. “We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back,” she tweeted. “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. #TurkeyIsNotOurFriend.”

Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, shared a tweet from Mr. Graham and added his own thoughts. “The President’s decision to abandon our Kurd allies in the face of an assault by Turkey is a betrayal,” he wrote. “It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster.”

Left virtually on his own, Mr. Trump found support on Capitol Hill from Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and one of the president’s staunchest defenders. Mr. Trump “once again fulfills his promises to stop our endless wars and have a true America First foreign policy,” Mr. Paul tweeted.

Mr. Trump came to office promising to get the country out of overseas wars, contending that the military’s involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks had largely been a waste of lives and money, with little to show for it.

A similarly sudden decision last winter to pull American troops out of Syria prompted Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to resign, and Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State, accelerated his own planned departure in protest.

The Senate, led by Mr. McConnell, relayed its displeasure in January by voting overwhelmingly to rebuke Mr. Trump over his planned withdrawal of military forces from Syria and Afghanistan.

Mr. Trump later walked back his decision in Syria to some extent, but has been frustrated not to be doing more to extricate the United States from entanglements in the region. His supporters said the latest move should therefore not be a surprise and the Kurds had fair warning.

The Kurdish forces in the area, part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, or S.D.F., have been the most reliable American ally in the region for years, a critical element in recapturing territory once controlled by the Islamic State. But Turkey has long considered the Kurdish fighters to be terrorists and has lobbied the United States to abandon support for them.

“The United States was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days, that was many years ago,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Monday. “We stayed and got deeper and deeper into battle with no aim in sight.” Now, he said, it is time to leave.

“I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” Mr. Trump wrote. “WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN. Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out.”

He offered little sympathy for the fate of America’s Kurdish allies: “The Kurds fought with us,” he wrote, “but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.”

Mr. Trump has been particularly irritated that the United States continues to pay to detain thousands of Islamic State fighters. For months, he has tried to pressure European states and others to take those fighters who originated from there, only to run into strong resistance.

“Europe did not want them back, they said you keep them USA!” Mr. Trump wrote. “I said ‘NO, we did you a great favor and now you want us to hold them in U.S. prisons at tremendous cost. They are yours for trials.’ They again said ‘NO,’ thinking, as usual, that the U.S. is always the ‘sucker,’ on NATO, on Trade, on everything.”

But if Turkey moves against the Kurds, the S.D.F. could abandon camps to fight the Turks, potentially allowing some 10,000 captured Islamic State fighters, including 2,000 foreigners, to escape. United States military officers were trying to reassure the S.D.F. in hopes of avoiding such a scenario.

The United States has suspended longstanding efforts to create a safe zone in Syria near the Turkish border that would have kept Turkish forces and Syrian fighters at a distance from each other. But one State Department official who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity under administration ground rules said that the United States was now controlling the air space over northeast Syria in part to prevent Turkish aggression.

The prospect that an American withdrawal would lead to a Turkish incursion alarmed European allies. The French and Germans issued statements expressing deep concern. A State Department official said the international reaction to a possible Turkish operation had been “devastating” and acknowledged it would destabilize the region.

For now at least, the Syrian Defense Forces leadership has told American officials that it will continue to detain the Islamic State fighters and their families in makeshift camps in northern Syria. But a State Department official acknowledged that the best-trained guards could be pulled away in the event of conflict with Turkey.

Most of the camps are farther south than where the Turkish forces have indicated they might go in Syria, outside the boundary of even the broadest safe zone that has been discussed. If the Kurdish guards flee advancing Turkish forces, the official said, then the administration expects the Turks to take over the detention centers.

American counterterrorism specialists said on Monday that transferring counterterrorism responsibilities to a Turkish military force that has proved ill -trained and ill equipped to conduct such operations in their own country would be disastrous and potentially reverse important victories by American troops and their Kurdish partners on the ground.

“It’s hard to imagine Turkey has the capacity to handle securely and appropriately the detainees long held by the Syrian Kurds — and that’s if Turkey even genuinely intends to try,” said Joshua A. Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council under Mr. Obama.

“The release or escape of such detainees,” he added, “would instantly energize ISIS’s efforts, already underway, to regroup and surge again.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Declares ‘Time for Us to Get Out’ of Syria as Republicans Object

Westlake Legal Group 07dc-prexy-01-facebookJumbo Trump Declares ‘Time for Us to Get Out’ of Syria as Republicans Object United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces State Department Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense Department

WASHINGTON — President Trump vowed on Monday to pull back from military involvement in the Middle East and leave it to others “to figure the situation out,” even as some of his Republican allies condemned him for abandoning allies and emboldening regional enemies.

In a series of Twitter messages, the president defended his decision to clear the way for a Turkish military operation that could sweep away America’s Kurdish allies near the Syrian border, arguing that the internecine conflict among forces in the region was not a top priority for a war-weary United States.

“I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” Mr. Trump wrote. “WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN. Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out.”

But after a flood of criticism from congressional Republicans, Mr. Trump pivoted hours later, saying that he would prevent Turkey from going too far, without explaining what he meant or where that line would be drawn.

“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!),” he wrote.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader and one of Mr. Trump’s staunchest advocates in the Senate, joined the Republican chorus on Monday afternoon. “I urge the President to exercise American leadership” and maintain the American deployment in Syria. He also reminded Mr. Trump of a Senate vote in January that Congress rebuked him over a planned withdrawal.

“A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” he said. “And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”

A Defense Department official said that the president’s tweet removed any ambiguity about whether Mr. Trump had endorsed a Turkish attack on the Kurds. “The Department of Defense made clear to Turkey — as did the president — that we do not endorse a Turkish operation in Northern Syria,” said Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon spokesman, in a statement. “The U.S. armed forces will not support, or be involved in any operation.”

The president’s abrupt decision on Sunday to defer to Turkey’s desire to intervene in Syria overrode the objections of the Pentagon and State Department, which sought to maintain a small American troop presence in northeastern Syria, and caught even some of Mr. Trump’s top supporters off guard. Republican hawks in Congress joined with Democrats in castigating the president and promising to try to sanction Turkey if it followed through with its plans.

[A look at who is affected by Trump’s shift in Syria.]

“If I didn’t see Donald Trump’s name on the tweet, I would have thought it was Obama’s rationale for getting out of Iraq,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and usually one of the president’s most vocal backers, said on Fox News.

As with President Barack Obama’s decision to pull out American troops from Iraq in 2011, Mr. Graham said, Mr. Trump’s withdrawal would create a vacuum for remnants of the Islamic State, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and others to surge forward again.

“This is a big win for Iran and Assad, a big win for ISIS,” Mr. Graham said, using another term for the Islamic State. “I will do everything I can to sanction Turkey if they step one foot in northeastern Syria. That will sever my relationship with Turkey. I think most of the Congress feels that way.”

Mr. Graham said he would also introduce a nonbinding resolution asking Mr. Trump to reconsider his move, which he called “shortsighted and irresponsible.” The president’s assertion that the Islamic State has been defeated is “the biggest lie being told by this administration,” Mr. Graham added.

The announcement set off a swift and bipartisan backlash from other lawmakers as well.

Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a member of the House Republican leadership, called withdrawing United States forces from northern Syria “a catastrophic mistake.” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said it would be “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria.”

Nikki Haley, Mr. Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, joined the chorus. “We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back,” she wrote on Twitter. “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. #TurkeyIsNotOurFriend.”

Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, shared a tweet from Mr. Graham and added his own thoughts. “The President’s decision to abandon our Kurd allies in the face of an assault by Turkey is a betrayal,” he wrote. “It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster.”

Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and one of the president’s staunchest defenders, emerged as the lone congressional backer of the move. The president “once again fulfills his promises to stop our endless wars and have a true America First foreign policy,” Mr. Paul wrote on Twitter.

Some conservatives also came to the president’s defense. “Some will cast any deal w/ Turkey as @realDonaldTrump getting close w/ a dictator,” Hugh Hewitt, the talk show host, wrote. “It’s not. It’s dealing with the realities that we can’t stay forever.”

Mr. Trump came to office promising to get out of overseas wars, contending that the country’s military involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has been largely a waste of lives and money with little to show for it.

A similarly sudden decision last winter to pull American troops out of Syria prompted Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to resign, and Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State, accelerated his own planned departure in protest.

The Senate, led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, relayed their displeasure in January when it voted overwhelmingly to rebuke Mr. Trump over his planned withdrawal of military forces from Syria and Afghanistan.

Mr. Trump later walked back his decision in Syria to some extent, but has been frustrated not to be doing more to extricate the United States from entanglements in the region. His supporters said the latest move should therefore not be a surprise and the Kurds had fair warning.

The decision came after a telephone call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. American officials indicated that the 100 to 150 United States military personnel deployed to northeastern Syria would be pulled back in advance of any Turkish operation but that they would not be completely withdrawn from Syria.

The Kurdish forces in the area, part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, or S.D.F., have been the most reliable American ally in the region for years, a critical element in recapturing territory once controlled by the Islamic State. But Turkey has long considered the Kurdish fighters to be terrorists and has lobbied the United States to abandon support for them.

“The United States was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days, that was many years ago,” Mr. Trump wrote on Monday. “We stayed and got deeper and deeper into battle with no aim in sight.” Now, he said, it is time to leave.

He offered little sympathy for the fate of America’s Kurdish allies: “The Kurds fought with us,” he wrote, “but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.”

Mr. Trump has been particularly irritated that the United States continues to pay to detain thousands of Islamic State fighters. For months, he has tried to pressure European states and others to take those fighters who originated from there, only to run into strong resistance.

“Europe did not want them back, they said you keep them USA!” Mr. Trump wrote. “I said ‘NO, we did you a great favor and now you want us to hold them in U.S. prisons at tremendous cost. They are yours for trials.’ They again said ‘NO,’ thinking, as usual, that the U.S. is always the ‘sucker,’ on NATO, on Trade, on everything.”

But if Turkey moves against the Kurds, the S.D.F. could abandon camps to fight the Turks, potentially allowing some 10,000 captured Islamic State fighters, including 2,000 foreigners, to escape. United States military officers were trying to reassure the S.D.F. in hopes of avoiding such a scenario.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com