“This is one of the worst decisions in decades,” Schumer said. “We here in New York understand this better than anyone.”
The Senate Minority Leader’s comments come almost a week after the House approved a bipartisan resolution to oppose Trump’s decision to withdraw nearly 1,000 armed forces from the northeast border of Syria, a move widely seen as an abandonment of Kurdish troops.
Schumer urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. last week to bring the House resolution to the Senate floor for debate and vote, but on Tuesday said that “while leader McConnell initially seemed interested in this, he now seems to be going down a different path.”
Lawmakers worried that the removal of American troops from Syria would leave the U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) vulnerable to a Turkish invasion and a resurgence of the Islamic State.
The Syrian Kurdish forces had been holding captive more than 10,000 ISIS members in the region, but they said they are being forced to abandon some of those positions to fight the Turkish invasion.
Vice President Pence successfully negotiated a ceasefire after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara Thursday, with the foreign nation agreeing to halt Turkey’s shellings in Syria for five days to allow the Kurdish YPG forces to pull back from the roughly 20-mile safe zone on the Turkish-Syrian border.
The resolution, introduced by Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Michael McCaul, R-Texas, calls upon the White House to put forward a plan for the “enduring defeat” of the Islamic State and demand that Turkey cease its military operations in Syria.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee said the administration has “no plan” to deal with the rising tensions in Syria. “This is make it up as you go.”
“The president should revoke the invitation to meet with Erdogan in November,” Reed added, as the Turkish leader is expected to visit the White House in the coming weeks.
“We’ll be forced to send more troops when ISIS raises the black and white flag again,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-IL, said. “I am tired of Trump wrapping himself in the flag in the morning and abandoning our troops by the afternoon.”