US envoy to Syria faces more questions on Capitol Hill about troop pullout

New York Post 0 month ago

The US special envoy to Syria will return to Capitol Hill on Wednesday a day after he told a Senate panel that President Trump didn’t consult with him before he pulled US troops out of Syria.

James Jeffrey, in his appearance Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he wasn’t on the phone call earlier this month when Trump informed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he would withdraw US forces, giving Erdogan the go-ahead to launch an attack on Kurds in northern Syria.

But he said he was briefed on the conversation.

Pressed about whether he was consulted about the withdrawal, Jeffrey replied: “That specific decision, I was not, in advance.”

Jeffrey will appear Wednesday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

His testimony comes as Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed Tuesday to a deal to remove the Kurdish fighters from a swath of territory in northern Syria and begin joint patrols on the border.

Erdogan unleashed a military attack on the Kurds, who fought with the US against Islamic State terrorists since 2014, three days after the conversation with Trump.

The Kurds are considered by Ankara to be a terror group aligned with insurgents who have been battling the government for decades inside Turkey.

Erdogan paused the fighting last Thursday for five days after agreeing to a ceasefire brokered with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence to give Kurds time to withdraw from northern Syria.

That ceasefire expired at 3 p.m. Tuesday.


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