Alaska’s all-Republican congressional delegation is criticizing President Donald Trump’s recently announced plan to pull American troops from northern Syria as rival Turkish troops prepare to move into the area.
The announcement has been met with significant pushback from members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican, who are concerned the absence of U.S troops will further destabilize the country in which the United States has been militarily involved in since 2011.
Trump justified the decision in a Sunday statement from the White House and in Monday tweets, suggesting the United States is shouldering too much of the burden and costs associated with fighting the Islamic State in the region.
But Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski expressed concern in a post to her Twitter account Tuesday.
“Withdrawing from Syria in this way not only betrays our long-standing Kurdish allies but creates space for an ISIS resurgence,” Murkowski tweeted. “We are already hearing disturbing reports from the region. I urge the president to reconsider this abrupt and unsettling decision.”
Murkowski’s comment came a day after those of her Alaska colleague, Sen. Dan Sullivan.
“This decision will likely lead to increased Iranian influence; expand the power vacuum likely to be filled by Russian and Iranian proxies; and would raise the likelihood that ISIS prisoners will be released or escape from detention,” Sullivan posted to his official Twitter account Monday night. “While I agree that our troops should not be in Syria indefinitely, such a precipitous withdraw and an abandonment of our Kurdish allies would make it harder in the future to attract partner forces to work with America.”
Republican Rep. Don Young, who also released a statement Tuesday, echoed many of Murkowski and Sullivan’s points, emphasizing the need to stand alongside Kurdish allies.
“The absence of American leadership overseas only serves to create voids that will be filled by America’s adversaries — including Iran,” Young said in a statement emailed to the Daily News-Miner. “In addition to allowing for the resurgence of ISIS, this move calls into question America’s commitment to our allies. We should be standing with the Kurds and against Turkish operations in Northern Syria.”
Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.