LaHood Predicts Turkey Invasion, Disagrees With Syria Policy

By Benjamin Cox on October 10, 2019 at 6:12am

18th District Congressman Darin LaHood says that President Donald Trump’s pull out of troops in Syria is a horrible deal for foreign allies and the U.S.’s image globally. LaHood predicted earlier this week on the AM Conversation that Kurdish rebel forces in Syria would be invaded against in the northern part of the country by Turkey. “I think it’s a mistake. The Kurds helped us to defeat ISIS. They’ve fought side by side with us for the last three years in Syria. We’ve asked them to do so many things for us and they’ve been there. Now, to remove our troops and make the Kurds vulnerable to the Turks. They’ll now be sitting ducks. The Turks are going to invade Northern Syria because they have a long-standing conflict, quasi-war with the Kurds. I think there is a better way of doing this. I think it’s a bit irrational and I’ve expressed that to the President that we need to thing long and hard before we abandoned the Kurds in Syria.”

LaHood is worried with the announcement of the invasion of Turkey’s army yesterday by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan into northeastern Syria targeting U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters who have played a central role in battling the Islamic State militant group that a space will be allowed for terrorist groups to form in the volatile country. “What it’s going to do is create a vacuum when we leave. There are tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners that we have guarded over and we’re now going to leave them to the Kurds. Turkey is going to slaughter the Kurds when they cross the border into Syria. What I worry about is those ISIS fighters escaping and reforming much like what happened when we left Iraq. It’s a complicated situation, but I don’t want to be in a never-ending war. We also have to stand by the people that have been there with us and I worry about ISIS reforming in that country once we leave.”

The conflict that LaHood speaks of is Turkey’s views the Syrian Kurdish fighters as terrorists allied with Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK with whom the Turkish government has had armed conflict since 1978.

Operation Peace Spring by the Turkey forces is hoping to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across Turkey’s southern border and create a terrorism safe zone to their country, according to an announcement from Turkish officials Wednesday morning.

The offensive has presented the Trump administration with a dilemma as it has sought to balance Washington’s partnership with Turkey, a NATO ally, and U.S. links to the Syrian Kurdish forces that helped beat back the Islamic State.

The White House announced Sunday that it was withdrawing U.S. troops from the area that Turkey planned to invade, igniting a firestorm of bipartisan criticism in Congress.

As of this morning, Turkish forces have begun to bombard northern Syria with bombing that has already resulted in several civilian deaths and heavy damage to Kurdish Army strongholds.