Democratic Rep. Jason Crow: 11,000 ISIS Fighters May Be Freed because of Trump’s Syria Withdrawal
Congressman Jason Crow has warned that 11,000 battle hardened ISIS fighters could be released from prisons in Syria because of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from the region. The Colorado Democrat, who is a veteran, sees a real risk to national security. There is a particular threat to Kurdish forces who were key allies in fighting ISIS.
“Today everyone’s waking up and those forces are thinking that the American handshake doesn’t matter,” Crow said.
“The message that Donald Trump just sent to people around the world is that the American handshake doesn’t matter. We have rangers on the ground, we have Green Berets that have been fighting with these forces for years. That have been making promises to these forces that if you fight with us, if you stand shoulder to shoulder with us, we will take care of your and your families. And today we are less safe because of the actions of the President.”
“Congressman, you fought alongside, shoulder to shoulder, with local soldiers,” host Willie Geist said. “Those members of the SDF, Syrian defense forces — Democratic Forces, a lot of them wear American flags on their uniforms because they do fight side by side. What have we left them to now by stepping aside with the President’s decision?”
“We’re putting them in a terrible position,” Crow said. “If Turkey moves south and invades these Kurdish-controlled areas, we’re potentially leaving them and their families to slaughter. There’s the national security element here for the United States but there’s also the moral element. These are people we’ve made promises to, these are people that have risked their lives and family’s lives to fight with us. Again, because U.S. Soldiers have made promises to them.”
“And now we’re sitting here potentially leaving them on their own. It is astonishing on so many levels.”
“But there’s also the national security element here. This idea that there are about 11,000 ISIS fighters. 11,000. These are the most battle hardened ISIS fighters. These are the people who fought to the end in Raqqa that are currently being held in makeshift prisons all along northern Syria.”
“These prisons are entirely controlled by the SDF forces. They’re sitting here guarding these people. If Turkey moves south, what’s gonna happen is these SDF forces will abandon their posts to try to fight and defend themselves and their families. These prisons will be unguarded. These 11,000 ISIS fighters will evaporate into Syria and for the rest of the world. Many of them are from places around the world and that will be an extreme risk for all of us.”
Watch the video above, via MSNBC.