Hours before Turkey invaded northern Syria and began an assault on Kurds living in the region, Republican U.S. Sen. Martha McSally said President Donald Trump should not have suddenly pulled troops out of the region that were protecting America’s Kurdish allies.
McSally told Fox News’s Martha MacCallum that Trump’s decision would lead to widespread deaths in the Kurdish communities, which were key American allies in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria.
“We cannot tolerate a NATO ally (in Turkey) now coming in and mowing them down. That is just not the right message, and it’s not good for the safety of America,” she said in an Oct. 8 interview.
Trump’s move to withdraw the U.S. forces in the region was announced Oct. 6, and effectively abandons the Kurds. It caught most observers by surprise and sparked bipartisan outrage in Congress. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has for months been signaling that he intends to invade northern Syria to attack Kurds living in the region.
On Wednesday, Turkey invaded northern Syria and launched attacks against Kurdish fighters.
In the Oct. 8 interview, McSally said she thought NATO and Congress both needed to act swiftly to deter Erdogan from attacking the Kurds.
“I think we need to stand with the Kurds… not turn our backs on them,” she told MacCallum.
McSally’s office did not immediately return a request for comment on what course of action the U.S. government should take in response to Turkey’s invasion.
Last year, McSally positioned herself as a stalwart ally of Trump’s during her unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate. She was appointed to the Senate in January to fill the seat that John McCain was elected to in 2016, and is running to fill out the final two years of the term.
She has been endorsed by Trump for her 2020 bid.