Deutch Statement on Reports that Trump Admin. Plans to Withdraw US Forces from Syria
Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22), Ranking Member of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, made the following statement in response to reports that the Trump Administration would withdraw U.S. forces from Syria:
“Today the Trump Administration announced it would begin pulling U.S. forces and personnel from Syria. I’m deeply concerned about this decision and the impact it will have on the ground and on our ability to influence a political resolution to the conflict.
“The decision to remove our forces contradicts the Administration’s stated goals of ensuring the enduring defeat of ISIS and countering Iran’s dangerous expansion in Syria. The removal of U.S. forces and the lack of stabilization efforts will only exacerbate the conditions that make a resurgence of radicalized actors more likely.
"This move directly contradicts public statements made by Trump Administration officials. Just last month, the U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement Ambassador James Jeffrey told the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee that 'such an untimely U.S. military departure from Syria would enable ISIS to return, allow Iran to fill the vacuum, place Iraq’s stability at risk, and increase the threats to Syria’s neighbors such as our key allies Israel, Jordan, and Turkey.'
“In addition, this move makes our partners on the ground, including the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), more vulnerable to aggression from Syrian regime forces backed by Iran and Russia and Turkish-backed opposition forces. The SDF has fearlessly and selflessly sacrificed to help our mission in combating ISIS.
“The Administration is yielding American leadership to powers like Russia, Iran, and Turkey to decide the future of Syria. The removal of U.S. troops will not further our national security objectives in Syria or secure our allies in the region. In fact, this move plays into Iran's long-desired goal to establish a land bridge from Tehran to Beirut to extend its regime and terror proxies.
"This decision contravenes advice from both the State Department and the Pentagon, once again showing the Administration’s lack of a cohesive and coherent strategy. Unfortunately, this haphazard decision may well further destabilize the region, threaten our key allies, and threaten U.S. security at home.”