WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) today sent a letter to the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders requesting a Senators-only briefing from the Departments of Defense and State, and the intelligence community on the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria.

“The President’s decision will have severe consequences for our strategic national interests and reduce American influence in the region while strengthening Turkey, Russia, and Iran,” wrote the Senators.  “The decision also dramatically increases the threat to our Kurdish allies, who helped destroy ISIS’s territorial caliphate, and will impair our ability to build strategic alliances in the future.”

“We are concerned that this was an abrupt decision taken in the face of reported opposition from military and diplomatic advisers, and that thousands of hardened ISIS fighters and thousands more ISIS supporters currently in detention may become free to fight again as their Kurdish captors turn to defending themselves against a Turkish incursion,” stated the Senators.

The letter can be read here and below. 

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer:

As you are both well aware, there has been significant bipartisan concern and pushback against President Trump’s October 6 decision to withdraw U.S. forces from portions of Syria.  This action will give Turkey a greenlight to go into northeastern Syria under the guise of dealing with the continued threat of ISIS.  Furthermore, the President’s decision will have severe consequences for our strategic national interests and reduce American influence in the region while strengthening Turkey, Russia, and Iran.  The decision also dramatically increases the threat to our Kurdish allies, who helped destroy ISIS’s territorial caliphate, and will impair our ability to build strategic alliances in the future.

We are concerned that this was an abrupt decision taken in the face of reported opposition from military and diplomatic advisers, and that thousands of hardened ISIS fighters and thousands more ISIS supporters currently in detention may become free to fight again as their Kurdish captors turn to defending themselves against a Turkish incursion.

In order to better understand the full consequences of this decision, we believe that it is imperative that the Department of Defense, State Department, and the Intelligence Community provide an all members classified briefing on this decision as soon as possible. 

Thank you for your consideration.