Shaheen Expresses Alarm and Concern at President Trump’s Decision to Pull Back U.S. Forces in Northeastern Syria
**Last year, Shaheen traveled to Turkey to meet with President Erdogan, and Northeastern Syria where she visited ISIS detention facilities and met with local Arab politicians and SDF members**
**Shaheen has long worked with the families of victims murdered by ISIS to bring killers to justice**
(Washington, DC)—U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of both the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, issued the following statement after President Trump announced a pullback of U.S. forces in Northeastern Syria and an abandonment of our partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF):
“The United States’ limited presence in Syria has been instrumental to reducing the risk posed by ISIS and has helped stabilize much of Northeastern Syria. Today’s announcement of a pullback of U.S. forces will undo all the hard fought gains of the U.S. military and its partners in the region,” said Senator Shaheen. “This decision has not been coordinated with our military or diplomats in the region, and the President is opening the door for a security vacuum that risks a resurgence of ISIS. It is important to recognize that terrorism in Syria does not stay in Syria. I remain extremely concerned about security and the status of the over 10,000 ISIS prisoners held in the region, including prisoners who have played a role in the capture and murder of Americans. The SDF until now, have been our partners in helping to secure the region from ISIS. Abandoning them not only cedes our influence to Assad’s regime, Russia and Iran, but it damages the United States’ credibility with current or future partners for years to come. I urge President Trump to rethink this decision and draw upon the analysis that was compiled by the Syria Study Group – a panel established on a bipartisan basis by Congress to help guide U.S. policy. There is no reason for the President to hand this victory to our adversaries for no apparent return.”
Shaheen established the Syria Study Group in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization legislation that was signed into law in 2018. The Syria Study Group released its final report with recommendations for U.S. policy on September 26th.
Earlier this year, Senator Shaheen authored an editorial in the Washington Post with Diane Foley, the mother of slain journalist James Foley and the President of the James W. Foley Foundation, addressing the critical issue of ISIS terrorists currently detained by the Syrian Democratic Forces in Northeastern Syria.
In 2018, Senator Shaheen travelled with Senator Lindsey Graham to Turkey to meet with President Erdogan, and Northeastern Syria where she met with Kurdish leadership holding thousands of ISIS prisoners. Senators Shaheen and Graham discussed their trip with 60 Minutes.