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Waltz, Cheney to Introduce Bill Sanctioning Turkey Over Syrian Invasion

Washington, DC, October 11, 2019

On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) announced he will join nearly 30 of his Republican colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives on a bill to impose sanctions on Turkey in response to Ankara’s military offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in Northern Syria. This move follows similar efforts led by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) in the Senate.

Waltz has been critical of the decision to leave Kurdish-led U.S. ally Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) fighters without U.S. military support in their mission to combat ISIS.

“To our Kurdish allies: Stay strong. We are doing all we can to stop this attack from the Turkish Armed Forces,” Waltz said.

Turkey moved into northern Syria on Wednesday after U.S. troops left the region. Turkey then began its cross-border assault into Syria. So far, at least 11 civilians have died and dozens of SDF fighters have been killed. Tens of thousands of civilians have already fled the region.

“President Erdogan and his regime must face serious consequences for mercilessly attacking our Kurdish allies in northern Syria, who incurred thousands of casualties in the fight against ISIS and helped us protect the homeland,” said Cheney. “These sanctions are not only a response to the Erdogan regime’s violent attacks in northern Syria. Congress has long had concerns about the regime’s cooperation with U.S. adversaries, such as Russia. If Turkey wants to be treated like an ally, it must begin behaving like one. They must be sanctioned for their attacks on our Kurdish allies.”

Waltz also cited concerns over a resurgence of ISIS in the region as a result of the pullout of U.S. special forces.

“The decision to withdraw our specialized forces in northeastern Syria is an enormous risk for our national security,” Waltz said. “ISIS has been defeated as a caliphate but not as a movement – and the movement is growing stronger. We saw what happened with Al-Qaeda when Obama abandoned Iraq. History has a tendency to repeat itself. We cannot take the same risk in Syria.”

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