Sen. Lindsey Graham has said that Syria might face the same bleak future Iraq saw when the US pullout in 2011 arguably gave rise to Islamic terrorism there, warning that sending US troops home will turn it into “Iraq on steroids.”
Graham (R-South Carolina), who has styled himself as one of the main opponents of the withdrawal of some 2,000 US troops from Syria, announced by President Donald Trump late last year, was speaking from Ankara when he urged Trump to take his time with the drawdown of forces.
“So I told President Trump – if you withdraw and do not think this through, you’re creating a nightmare for Turkey,” Graham said.
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The hawkish Senator has previously pleaded with Trump to “slow down” things in Syria, arguing that an immediate withdrawal would endanger Israel, embolden Iran and incite a war between the Turkish forces “and our allies the Kurds.”
Speaking on Saturday, Graham struck a far more conciliatory tone with Turkish officials compared to Trump, who last week threatened to “devastate Turkey economically” if it mounts an offensive on Kurds, while stressing that “it is now time” to bring US troops back home.
Graham said the US military is working on a plan together with the Turkish army that would allow them to create a buffer zone between Turkey and Kurdish fighters in Syria “so that Turkey doesn’t believe they are threatened by [the People’s Protection Units] YPG elements in Syria.”
The YPG is the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed alliance of mainly Kurdish militias that have enjoyed Washington’s protection throughout its campaign in Syria, including material support. (RT)