UPDATE (10/29/19): In a 403 to 16 vote, the House has overwhelming voted to pass HR 4695. The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.
UPDATE (10/27/19): This week, the House is expected to vote on bipartisan legislation, the Protect Against Conflict by Turkey Act (HR 4695) that would impose sanctions on Turkey for its invasion of Northern Syria.
UPDATE (10/16/19): In a 354 to 60 vote, the House has overwhelmingly voted to rebuke Trump’s decision to suddenly withdraw troops from Syria. Next, the House is expected to vote on a sanctions package targeting Turkey for its invasion.
Directly after an October 6th phone call with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Ergogan, Trump ordered the US military to withdraw from northern Syria, leaving our Kurdish allies alone to defend themselves from the Turkish invasion. For over 5 years, the largest minority group in Syria, the Kurds, have allied themselves with American troops to fight against the Islamic State, losing an estimated 11,000 lives in the process. The US relied on Kurdish fighters to defeat ISIS and gave them an implicit guarantee they could live peacefully in the semi-autonomous region.
Turkey has long held hostility towards the Kurds, seeing the ethnic minority as a security thread along their border and regarding them as “terrorists.” Armed conflict with Kurdish insurgent groups goes back to the 70s, with uprisings coinciding with increased suppression of Kurdish ways of life, from outlawing their language to the outright banning of the words “Kurds” and “Kurdish” by the Turkish government.
After the October 6th announcement of US troop withdrawal, Turkey wasted no time and invaded Kurdish territory within 24 hours. This military incursion has already lead to shocking videos of roadside executions, stories of rape, and the displacement of over 130,000 people and counting.
The US government must reverse course immediately and help re-stabilize the now destabilized region. They must provide immediate humanitarian aid, end the the massacre of our allies, and demand Trump answer for his impulsive military decision.