AJC Condemns Trump’s Decision to Withdraw from Syria

October 7, 2019
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event where U.S.-Japan trade agreements were signed at the White House on October 7, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump also spoke about the U.S. Southern Border, Syria, and the current impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) and other Jewish groups condemned the Trump administration’s Oct. 6 announcement that the United States will be withdrawing troops from northern Syria.

The announcement states that the U.S. will end its opposition to Turkey’s “long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” referencing the U.S. established safe-zone that serves as a buffer between the Turkish government and Kurdish forces. “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years in the wake of the territorial ‘Caliphate’ by the United States,” the announcement reads.

The American Jewish Committee tweeted, “The Pentagon said the Syrian Kurds bravely helped take back their homeland from ISIS. Now, after a call with Erdogan, @POTUS
okays a Turkish incursion, a dangerous move that could have dire consequences for the Mideast. We urge POTUS to reconsider. We mustn’t abandon our allies.”

Democratic Majority for Israel CEO Mark Mellman similarly said in a statement, “With their backing, Kurdish forces helped lead the fight against ISIS, sacrificing thousands of their soldiers in the process. The United States promised the Kurds continued security cooperation to reduce the Turkish threat, but President Trump’s impulsive decision betrays America’s commitments to the Kurdish people.”

Jewish Democratic Council of America Executive Director Halie Soifer, who was also a national security adviser in the Obama administration, said in a statement that [President Donald] Trump’s “reckless” move “sends a clear message that the U.S. cannot be trusted or relied upon, and that U.S. policy can turn on a dime based on the whims of an unstable president. Our allies, including Israel, will note that President Trump’s foreign policy is clearly guided by his personal and political interests, as opposed to the national security interests of the United States and our regional partners.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) tweeted, “The Kurds have fought, bled & died fighting alongside the US. They have been warriors & brothers in battle along the way. POTUS is right to want to end endless wars, but the Turks wiping out the Kurds will ABSOLUTELY NOT be an acceptable outcome after all of that.”

Trump defended his decision on Twitter, arguing that “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.”

UPDATE: The Simon Wiesenthal Center said in a statement that they urge “President Trump not to abandon the Kurds of Syria to the deadly whims of Turkey’s Erdogan. Maintaining the presence of a few hundred American troops to protect America’s ally is the most prudent and appropriate path and will negate future attacks by Turkey against people who stood and stand with the United States of America.”

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