Dem senator says Trump's Syria withdrawal is leading Kurds 'to a slaughter'

Dem senator says Trump's Syria withdrawal is leading Kurds 'to a slaughter'


By:  Michael Burke
The Hill

Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) on Wednesday slammed President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, saying it will result in a "slaughter" of the Kurds.

 

"He's leading them to a slaughter," Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on CNN. "It sends a global message: 'Don't fight for the United States or with the United States, because when they're finished using you, they'll let you die on the battlefield.' That’s a terrible global message to have."

 

Trump last month announced that he would withdraw the roughly 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, a decision that prompted bipartisan backlash and led to the resignation of James Mattis as defense secretary.

 

U.S. troops in Syria have fought along side Kurdish forces in the battle against ISIS. A withdrawal of American service members is seen by many as leaving the Kurds vulnerable to attacks from Turkey, who view Kurdish militias as terrorist groups.

 

Trump has faced pressure to reconsider his decision, but there are indications he will reverse course.

 

Trump claimed last month that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had been fully defeated in the region.

 

Menendez on Wednesday indicated that ISIS has not been vanquished.

 

"First of all, ISIS has had some significant blows to it, but it's obviously not defeated in Syria. When the president says the job is done and ISIS is defeated in Syria and we're leaving, he's basically giving a message to those elements of ISIS that still exist: ‘Hang in there and you'll be able to come back to the battle,'" Menendez said. "The problem is that affects our national security interests as well as our allies in the region."