Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Syrian Arab and Kurdish civilians flee amid Turkish bombardment on Syria's northeastern town of Ras al-Ain in the Hasakeh province along the Turkish border on October 9, 2019. (Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)

Amid Reports of Civilian Deaths, Sanders Condemns Trump for 'Giving Turkish Army Permission' to Slaughter Kurds in Syria

"I strongly condemn Trump's reckless decision to abandon our Kurdish allies to their fate at the hands of Turkish President Erdoğan."

Jake Johnson, staff writer

As Turkish troops invaded northeastern Syria and launched airstrikes that reportedly killed at least seven civilians, Sen. Bernie Sanders issued a statement late Wednesday condemning U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to abandon Kurdish forces and pave the way for Turkey's military assault.

"I strongly condemn Trump's reckless decision to abandon our Kurdish allies to their fate at the hands of Turkish President Erdoğan," said Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. "This is not a case of sending American troops there. They are already there and Trump is withdrawing them, giving the Turkish army permission to invade."

"This is not a case of sending American troops there. They are already there and Trump is withdrawing them, giving the Turkish army permission to invade."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

Trump on Sunday abruptly announced the withdrawal of U.S. forces from northeastern Syria, a decision that was met with outrage and warnings of a deadly Turkish invasion.

On Wednesday, that invasion began as Turkey began bombarding Kurdish targets in Syria, forcing civilians to flee in panic.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) warned in a statement Wednesday that Turkey's assault "will spill the blood of thousands of innocent civilians because our border areas are overcrowded."

Sanders said the U.S. president "should not make significant national security decisions impulsively, by tweets after a single phone call," and urged Congress to assert its constitutional authority over foreign policy.

"Kurdish fighters have fought and died in our joint effort to eliminate ISIS," said the Vermont senator. "They should not be abandoned in this way. Congress must assert its important responsibility over foreign policy and serve as a check on our unstable president."

After Turkey launched its assault on Wednesday, Trump issued a tepid statement denouncing the invasion as a "bad idea."

As The Guardian reported late Wednesday, "activists and observers said at least seven civilians had been killed so far."

"There were also early reports of civilian casualties in border towns hit by shelling," according to The Guardian. "Pictures and video shared on social media showed wrecked buildings and bodies in the rubble."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Summit Participants Embrace 'Vaccine Internationalism' to End Pandemic

"Our goal is simple: to end the pandemic as quickly as possible by securing Covid-19 vaccines for all," says the coordinator of Progressive International's four-day virtual summit.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


As Iran Elects New President, Experts Urge Biden to Rejoin Nuclear Deal, Lift Sanctions

"The Biden administration must remain resolute and seek a break from the disastrous conditions that helped contribute to this result."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


UN General Assembly Condemns Myanmar Junta Violence, Urges Arms Embargo

Member nations voted 119-1 in favor of the resolution, which also calls for a return to the country's fragile democracy.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


Dems Introduce Abolition Amendment to Scrap Constitution's 'Slavery Clause'

"The loophole in our Constitution's ban on slavery not only allowed slavery to continue, but launched an era of discrimination and mass incarceration that continues to this day," said Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Julia Conley, staff writer ·


'Surreal' and 'Distressing': Climate Experts' Predictions Come True With US Heatwave

"The current heatwave and drought leave no doubt, we are living the dangerous effects of the climate crisis."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·