Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) on Monday condemned President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops in northern Syria, stating the move is a “betrayal” of the Kurds.
“The President’s decision to abandon our Kurd allies in the face of an assault by Turkey is a betrayal. It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster,” Romney, a frequent Trump critic, wrote on Twitter.
The President’s decision to abandon our Kurd allies in the face of an assault by Turkey is a betrayal. It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster. https://t.co/Tu8ARa8Pmp
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) October 7, 2019
The White House announced Sunday it will remove U.S troops from northern Syria ahead of a Turkish military advance to expel Kurdish forces from the region.
In a statement released late Sunday following a phone call between President Trump and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the White House said it would neither support nor interfere with the mission.
“Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” the statement read. “The United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial ‘Caliphate,’ will no longer be in the immediate area.”
Turkey, a member of NATO, has been threatening to attack Kurdish-led U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces as it is led by the YPG militia, or People’s Protection Units, the Syrian version of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, which it considers a terrorist organization.
The SDF, who is also a close partner to the United States in the fight against IS in Syria, was integral to recapturing the terrorist organization’s final so-called caliphate in the war-torn country in March.
On Monday, President Trump expanded on his decision to pull out of northern Syria, saying that the time had come to stop fighting, “ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home.”
The president’s decision drew criticism from neoconservatives, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
“We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back. The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. #TurkeyIsNotOurFriend,” tweeted Haley.
Graham wrote: I don’t know all the details regarding President Trump’s decision in northern Syria. In process of setting up phone call with Secretary Pompeo. If press reports are accurate this is a disaster in the making.”
In the face of the criticism, President Trump affirmed the decision was rooted in his “American First” foreign policy.
“WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN,” the president said.
The UPI contributed to this report.