The Latest: Senate leaders slam Trump’s Syria pullout
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the United States and the Turkish invasion of Syria (all times local):
Senate Republican and Democratic leaders say President Donald Trump’s pullout of U.S. forces in Syria may have created a “power vacuum” that could pose a threat to the U.S. and its allies.
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a reminder Tuesday that a veto-proof majority of 70 senators voted earlier this year against such a pullout. He suggested Trump’s move allowed Turkey to invade, “creating a power vacuum begging for the meddling influence of Russia,” and leaving Syria open for Iran to advance its reach “unimpeded” toward Israel.
Democratic Leader Charles Schumer slammed Trump for scuttling years of progress American and Syrian Kurdish forces had made against the Islamic State group “in one fell, quick, unthought-out swoop.” He said Trump’s abrupt decision has encouraged an Islamic State “jailbreak.”
President Donald Trump says Vice President Mike Pence will be traveling to Turkey on Wednesday to try to reach a ceasefire deal.
Trump has demanded an immediate end to Turkey’s assault against Kurdish fighters and civilians in Syria — an assault Turkey began after Trump announced he was moving U.S. troops out of the way.
Trump announced new sanctions Monday to try to pressure Turkey. He says, “We’re asking for a ceasefire” and have “a lot in store” if Turkey doesn’t comply.
Pence will lead a delegation to Ankara that will include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien. They will be meeting with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Trump’s comments came during a Rose Garden ceremony celebrating the Stanley Cup-winning St. Louis Blues.
A U.S. official says the approximately 1,000 U.S. troops being withdrawn from northern Syria will reposition in Iraq, Kuwait and possibly Jordan.
The official spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive planning for a U.S. pullout amid heavy fighting between Turkish and Syrian Kurdish forces.
The official says the American troops have pulled out of the Manbij area, where U.S. outposts were set up in 2017. Troops are consolidating their positions to prepare to fly out of the country soon.
The official says U.S. troops based in Iraq could conduct cross-border operations against the Islamic State group in Syria as they did before creating the now-abandoned partnership with Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
The White House announced a week ago that U.S. forces in northeast Syria would move aside and clear the way for an expected Turkish assault, essentially abandoning the Kurds who fought alongside American forces against Islamic State militants.
By Associated Press writer Robert Burns.
President Donald Trump says he is fully prepared to destroy Turkey’s economy if its leaders continue what he calls “this dangerous and destructive path” in Syria.
On Monday, Trump announced a halt to negotiations on a $100 billion trade deal with Turkey. Other sanctions include raising steel tariffs back up to 50% and actions against three senior Turkish officials and Turkey’s defense and energy ministries.
The U.S. is calling on Turkey to stop its invasion of Syria and declare a cease-fire in the assault that began after Trump announced he was moving U.S. troops out of the way.
Trump is sending Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser Robert O’Brien to Ankara as soon as possible in an attempt to begin negotiations with Kurdish forces in Syria.