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Iran Press TV

Pelosi, Schumer call US-Turkey agreement on Syria offensive 'sham'

Iran Press TV

Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:45AM

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer have described as a "sham" an agreement reached between the United States and Turkey to end the military incursion into Syria.

On Thursday, US Vice President Mike Pence said that Turkey agreed to end the military offensive in northern Syria after Kurdish fighters withdraw from a safe zone.

Ankara's incursion "will be halted entirely on completion" of the withdrawal, Pence told reporters following more than five hours of negotiations between a US delegation and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara earlier in the day.

Following the announcement, Pelosi and Schumer said in a statement, the agreement "seriously undermines the credibility of America's foreign policy and sends a dangerous message to our allies and adversaries alike that our word cannot be trusted. President Erdogan has given up nothing, and President Trump has given him everything."

Congress's top Democrats said the House of Representatives would vote on a bipartisan sanctions package against Turkey next week.

Despite the agreement, Republican and Democratic lawmakers said they would keep up their effort to impose tougher sanctions on Turkey.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen announced bill that would impose "crippling" sanctions on Ankara shortly before the agreement was announced.

In addition to targeting Turkish officials, the legislation aims to end US military cooperation with the NATO ally and mandate sanctions over Ankara's purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system.

"Turkey has legitimate national security concerns within Syria but they cannot be met by invasion and force of arms," Graham said in a statement.

"Congress is going to speak with a very firm, singular voice, that we will impose sanctions in the strongest measure possible against this Turkish outrage that will lead to the re-emergence of ISIS (Daesh), (and) the destruction of an ally, the Kurds," Graham told a news conference.

"Senators Van Hollen and Graham have spoken, and they agree on the need to move full steam ahead with their legislation," said Bridgett Frey, a Van Hollen spokesman.

Turkey last week began pounding the positions of Kurdish fighters with jets and artillery and sent in troops to purge them from the area east of Euphrates.

The offensive came three days after Trump announced he would pull US troops from the region, effectively exposing its allied Kurdish militants to their archenemy, Turkey.

Trump's move to withdraw troops from Syria was widely condemned by both Republican and Democratic Party lawmakers in Congress.

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