‘Ironic’: Congress Seeks to Punish Turkey’s Incursion, Even as US Troops Remain in Syria

© REUTERS / Rodi SaidAmerican soldiers walk together during a joint U.S.-Turkey patrol, near Tel Abyad, Syria September 8, 2019
American soldiers walk together during a joint U.S.-Turkey patrol, near Tel Abyad, Syria September 8, 2019 - Sputnik International
Turkey’s “Operation Peace Spring” has kicked off in Syria and caused a divide in the US muddied by what US President Donald Trump has deemed a misunderstanding. With Turkish troops already clashing with Kurds, hundreds dead, and US politicians calling for sanctions on Turkey, the so-called confusion may trigger a larger conflict.

In response to Turkey’s offensive, GOP members of the US Congress have called for sanctions to be placed on NATO ally Ankara, and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) issued a Thursday statement that said: "President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and his regime must face serious consequences for mercilessly attacking our Kurdish allies in northern Syria.”

This came hours after Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced their own proposal for sanctions.

While Turkey claims Operation Peace Spring is necessary for its security, Spain, another NATO ally, has also threatened to take action against Ankara and remove its Patriot missile defense systems from the country.

Peter Ford, the former UK ambassador to Syria, joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Thursday to explain the main point of confusion concerning Trump’s troop pullout and highlight the hypocrisy from US officials.


“There was never any serious talk of Kurdish region breakaway. Never. Not until the US presence,” Ford told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. “It’s actually been the US presence and guarantee which has been the real cause of destabilization.”

The former ambassador said that while the Kurds did have some grievances in the region, such as calls to have “more teaching of the Kurdish language in their schools,” Syrian Kurds have historically “been well integrated into the state.”

Trump’s statements on pulling out of Syria and bringing US troops home have been the subject of bipartisan ire, but the US president explained earlier this week that only approximately 50 soldiers were removed from the area.

Ford echoed the president’s claim and asserted that “all the hyperventilating” was over “the removal 50 guys.”

“The remaining hundreds of US forces are still there controlling about 20 to 25% of Syrian territory rich with oil and grain, preventing the reabsorption of those areas into the state of Syria. They still stand ready to act as a tripwire against the forces of Damascus,” he said. “Trump, for all his bluster about bringing the troops back, has taken only a very small step towards that goal.”

He went on to say that he believes that once the dust settles on this issue, those in the US currently outraged by Trump’s actions will realize how minimal the withdrawal is in reality. That is, unless there are Turkish “atrocities” in the area.

Ford concluded that in any case, he finds it quite “ironic that all these people who see no objection to the US occupying Syria are hyperventilating about another NATO power occupying Syria. The situation is very rich in irony.”

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