Trump's withdrawal of American troops a 'strategic nightmare'

Top Republican calls Trump's withdrawal of American troops from Syria a 'strategic nightmare'
2 min read
19 October, 2019
Trump's decision 'will leave the American people and homeland less safe, embolden our enemies, and weaken important alliances,' McConnell wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post.
McConnell has likened Trump's policy in Syria to Obama's [Getty]
Leader of the Republican-led US Senate Mitch McConnell has attacked President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria, calling it a “strategic nightmare” which will help the US’ enemies and hurt its allies.

"Withdrawing US forces from Syria is a grave strategic mistake," McConnell wrote in an op-ed published in The Washington Post.

Read more: Turkey accuses Kurds of violating ceasefire

"It will leave the American people and homeland less safe, embolden our enemies, and weaken important alliances."

Trump, on the other hand had earlier defended his decision to pull US troops out of Syria as “strategically brilliant”.

McConnel is usually a staunch supporter of Trump, but he criticised the President’s decision by likening it to foreign policy under former President Barack Obama.

"We saw the Islamic State flourish in Iraq after President Barack Obama's retreat. We will see these things anew in Syria and Afghanistan if we abandon our partners and retreat from these conflicts before they are won," McConnell wrote.

"America's wars will be 'endless' only if America refuses to win them," he added in an apparent shot at Trump's assertion that the withdrawal was necessary "to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars."

"The combination of a US pullback and the escalating Turkish-Kurdish hostilities is creating a strategic nightmare for our country," McConnell wrote in his opinion piece.

"Even if the five-day ceasefire announced Thursday holds, events of the past week have set back the United States' campaign against the Islamic State and other terrorists," McConnell wrote, referring to the US-brokered ceasefire between the Turkish forces and the SDF.

The withdrawal of American troops allowed Turkey to launch a military offensive against Kurdish led group Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) with the aim, Ankara says, of creating a safe zone on its southern border to repatriate Syrian refugees and to establish a secure corridor that will not be used by terrorist groups to launch attacks into Turkey.

The offensive has killed more than 500 people, including dozens of civilians. Around 300,000 civilians have been displaced by the fighting, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Turkey has agreed to suspend its offensive for five days, but there are reports of continued fighting in some areas.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab