Democrats and 129 of the Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to pass a non-binding resolution disapproving of President Donald Trump’s pullout of US troops from Syria – never authorized by Congress to be there.
The House Joint Resolution 77 describes the presence of US troops in northeastern Syria as “certain… efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces,” and formally voices opposition to their withdrawal, but does not offer an alternative. Instead, it demands the White House present a “clear and specific plan for the enduring defeat” of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).
354-60: House adopts joint resolution opposing President Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria and calls on Turkish President Erdogan to immediately cease unilateral military action in Northern Syria. Amash (I-MI) and 3 Republicans voted Present. pic.twitter.com/nf4fxPDxU2
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) October 16, 2019
The IS “capital” of Raqqa was liberated by US-allied Kurdish militias in October 2017, and the last IS enclave was declared secured in December 2018, but traces of the presence of the self-declared “caliphate” remain in both Syria and Iraq, weakened by years of war and sanctions.
The House resolution asks the White House to continue providing “humanitarian support” to the Kurds and ensure that Turkey “acts with restraint,” while also demanding of Ankara to stop its “unilateral military action” in Syria.
Trump has maintained he never gave the “green light” to Turkey to invade Syria, and defended the withdrawal as protecting the lives of American soldiers in a region where they had no business being anymore. He has also threatened to “destroy” Turkey’s economy with sanctions and tariffs over the invasion.
Congress has never voted to authorize the US troop presence in Syria, which is not sanctioned under international law and is based only tenuously on old resolutions allowing military action against Al-Qaeda terrorists following the 9/11 attacks. Damascus considers the US presence a violation of its sovereignty, unlike the Russian force that was invited back in 2015.
Congress never voted to send troops to Syria, but in five minutes we will be voting on a resolution that disapproves of Trump removing them. We should have never gone to Syria. We should leave Syria. I’m voting no on this resolution.
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) October 16, 2019
While the resolution does little to change the situation in Syria, the fact that so many Republicans chose to back Democrats against the sitting president from their party is being held up as a possible barometer for the Democrat-led impeachment process, even though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly refused to hold an actual floor vote on the matter.
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