U.S. President donald trump’s course in the syrian conflict is meeting with increasing criticism from within his own ranks. The republican majority leader in the u.S. Senate, mitch mcconnell, used unusually harsh words to oppose trump’s action.
"Withdrawing U.S. Troops from syria is a grave strategic mistake," mcconnell wrote in a guest editorial for the "washington post" published on friday. This made america more insecure, strong the enemies of the USA and weak important partners.
A cease-fire in northern syria agreed on thursday did not hold everywhere. Turkey and kurdish fighters accused each other of violating the agreement. The recently heavily contested border town of ras al-ain continued to come under fire in isolated incidents, according to activists.
Trump has long pursued the goal of bringing U.S. Troops home from overseas deployments and ending U.S. Involvement in "endless wars". With the withdrawal of american soldiers from northern syria, the republican had cleared the way for a turkish military offensive against kurdish militias in the area at the beginning of october, which met with massive criticism both nationally and internationally. Even close associates in his own party, such as republican senator lindsey graham, openly ran up a storm against trump’s course. With mcconnell, an even more weighty voice has now been added from within the party.
Mcconnell did not directly mention trump in his contribution, but his criticism of the president was unmistakable. He lamented that the recent moves by the U.S. Government leave important lessons from the past unheeded. "Even if the five-day cease-fire announced on thursday holds, the events of the past week have thrown back the U.S. Fight against the islamic state and other terrorists."The withdrawal of u.S. Troops, if not stopped, will play into the hands of syrian strongman president baschar al-assad, iran and russia. Mcconnell urged to leave limited number of U.S. Soldiers in syria.
Turkey had declared on 9. October launched an offensive in northern syria against the kurdish militia YPG, which it considers a terrorist organization. Ankara justifies deployment with right to self-defense. On thursday, u.S. Vice president mike pence announced a ceasefire between the parties to the conflict after talks in ankara. The cease-fire is intended to give the kurdish militias an opportunity to withdraw from an area on the syrian side of the border where turkey had planned to establish a so-called security zone. The joint declaration, which fits on a single sheet of paper, leaves many questions unanswered. It is unclear, for example, whether all parties are talking about the same withdrawal area.
Turkish president recep tayyip erdogan threatened on saturday to "destroy" the leaders of the syrian kurdish militias if they do not withdraw from northeastern syria before the ceasefire expires. If the deal does not hold, the offensive will continue "the minute the 120 hours end," erdogan told supporters in the central anatolian city of kayseri. He will travel to russia on tuesday to discuss the situation in syria with russian president vladimir putin.
Ankara and the syrian democratic forces (SDF), led by kurdish militias, accused each other of violating the ceasefire. The turkish defense ministry accused the kurdish militias on saturday of being responsible for 14 attacks with heavy weapons in the border towns of tal abiad and ras al-ain. The SDF, on the other hand, accused the turkish side of not allowing the opening of a humanitarian corridor for the embattled border town of ras al-ain. The kurdish self-government had demanded this in order to bring civilians and injured people to safety.
According to activists, turkish-backed rebels continued to fire sporadically on ras al-ain on saturday. The syrian observatory for human rights reported that at least six people there had died from their injuries in the course of the fighting. Rebels had earlier prevented a convoy of doctors carrying 38 injured civilians and fighters to safety from entering ras al-ain.
In germany, the 9. October turkish offensive continues to meet with partly harsh criticism. German defense minister annegret kramp-karrenbauer sharply criticized turkey and also the u.S. The withdrawal of U.S. Troops calls into question the "reliability of our strongest alliance partner worldwide," the CDU leader said at the CSU party conference in munich. At the same time, turkey’s use of armed force in the neighboring region threatens "the very basis of the postwar order" – that conflicts should be resolved through diplomacy and not by force of the strongest.
Several western politicians described the offensive as "military aggression and a violation of international law". It was wrong to leave the syrian kurds in the lurch, the chairmen of the foreign committees of the german, french and british parliaments, the EU parliament and the U.S. House of representatives wrote in a joint declaration that CDU politician norbert rottgen tweeted friday.
SPD parliamentary group leader rolf mutzenich raised the possibility of an indictment of erdogan at the international criminal court. "Erdogan is clearly acting in violation of international law at present. He is waging a war of aggression," mutzenich told the "welt am sonntag" newspaper.