WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the United States and the military withdrawal from northern Syria (all times local):
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham says he’ll meet with President Donald Trump on Monday and plans to discuss sanctions against Turkey over its invasion into Syria.
The South Carolina senator last week was critical of Trump’s announcement about removing U.S. troops from Syria. On Monday, Graham blamed Turkey for the turmoil in Syria, saying Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH’-jehp TY’-ihp UR’-doh-wahn) “made the biggest mistake of his political life” and “brought this on himself.”
Graham tells Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” there will be “crippling sanctions” from Congress that will “break” Turkey’s economy and “crush Erdogan until he stops the bloodshed.” Graham says Republicans, Democrats and the Trump administration will hit Erdogan “like a ton of bricks.”
Syrian Kurdish forces previously aligned with the U.S. say they’ve reached a deal with Syrian President Bashar Assad to help fend off Turkey’s invasion.
Graham says the alliance between the Kurds and Assad is “not good” for the United States. He says “Assad equals Iran” and “The last thing you want to do is to let Iran become more powerful in northeastern Syria.”
The United States appears to be heading toward a full military withdrawal from Syria amid growing chaos , cries of betrayal and signs that Turkey’s invasion could fuel a broader war.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday that President Donald Trump had directed U.S. troops in northern Syria to begin pulling out “as safely and quickly as possible.” He did not say Trump ordered troops to leave Syria, but that seemed like the next step in a combat zone growing more unstable by the hour.
Esper, interviewed on two TV news shows, said the administration was considering its options.