Both US Democratic and Republican lawmakers are preparing documents aimed at reversing President Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria, which many note has enabled Turkey to initiate its “Operation Peace Spring” military invasion against Kurdish forces, The Hill reports say.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who repeatedly criticized Trump for his decision and what he perceives to be the latter’s weak response on the incursion, is expected to introduce a bill proposing harsh sanctions against Ankara after lawmakers return to DC next week.
It is unknown, however, whether the bill, co-authored with Democratic Senator Chris van Hollen, will receive a floor vote, although Republican Senator Martha McSally has already thrown her support behind the bill.
“We cannot have a supposed ally who is continuing to go in the wrong direction under Erdoğan's leadership, invading another country,” she said, according to The Hill. “We’ve got to do our part in the Senate in order to hold Turkey accountable.”
House Republicans are also preparing companion measures authored by Liz Cheney and reportedly supported by nearly 30 Republicans.
In the meantime, Senate and House Democrats will also, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, introduce a resolution on Sunday. Speaking at a news conference, Schumer said the move is supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and he expects the resolution to get “strong bipartisan support.”
"I'm going to work so hard to pass this resolution, this joint resolution, this bipartisan resolution to try and get the president to undo what he has done," Schumer added.
The resolution, which is still being drafted, will call on Trump to reverse his decision to withdraw from northern Syria and call on Turkish President Erdogan to end the military invasion against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.
All these bills will come in the wake of another bill by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, a Democrat, and the panel's top Republican, Rep. Michael McCaul, introduced Friday, to slap sanctions on Turkish leaders and banks, as well as prohibit arms sales to Ankara. According to this bill, the sanctions will end as soon as Trump proves to Congress that Erdogan has halted his military offensive.
Trump initially announced a plan to pull out of Syria in December 2018. At the time, the Senate passed a resolution warning against the move in a veto-proof 68-23 vote, forcing Trump to walk back on his plan, The Hill recalls.
Amid the political backlash, Trump reportedly sought to distance himself Ankara, floating the unlikely idea of US mediation between the Kurds and Erdogan’s administration.
“We can mediate. I hope we can mediate,” Trump told reporters.