ELIZABETH, N.J. – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper announced on Sunday that President Donald Trump had ordered the full withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria:
“With this withdrawal, President Trump is further weakening the United States’ position on the global stage, actively weakening our national security and further undermining our credibility with partners and allies.
“The ongoing Turkish incursion threatens U.S. services members, some who appear to have been deliberately targeted, as well as thousands of Kurds and other civilians. This opens the door to a wholesale slaughter of the Kurdish population.
“As expected, there are now credible reports of ISIS jailbreaks across northern Syria with ISIS members and affiliates escaping as the SDF moves its resources to defend against the Turkish advance. This is a direct threat to our national security. Turkish forces have effectively choked U.S. supply lines by cutting off the main access road between East and West Syrian Kurdish territory, displacing more than 130,000 people and making it nearly impossible to deliver any assistance to an already devastated population.
“Voices within and outside of the administration repeatedly warned of these dire consequences of a precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Syria. By listening to Turkish President Erdogan, the President has once again seemingly chosen to make a deal with a foreign leader, which included siding with Russia at the U.N. and not condemning Turkish action.
“To be clear, this Administration’s chaotic and haphazard approach to policy by tweet is endangering the lives of U.S. troops and civilians. The only beneficiaries of this action are ISIS, Iran and Russia. I call on the President to immediately reconsider this decision. Similarly, I sincerely hope my colleagues in Congress will join in legislative efforts condemning the Turkish actions and calling for principled policy to promote our national security.”