U.S. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on Thursday announced the filing of legislation for sanctions against Turkey despite a temporary ceasefire in Syria.
Blackburn joined U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in making the announcement.
“Without reservation, I lend my wholehearted support to this bipartisan, comprehensive sanctions legislation that holds Turkey, its leadership, and its military accountable for its atrocities,” Blackburn said.
The Countering Turkish Aggression Act’s sanctions will remain in place until the administration certifies to Congress that Turkish forces have withdrawn from all locations in the Syrian Kurdish community that they did not occupy prior to the October 9 invasion, Blackburn said.
Turkey agreed to pause military operations for 120 hours while the United States facilitates the withdrawal of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from a 20-mile safe zone along the border, Vice President Mike Pence said, according to a Foreign Policy story. Once the Kurds leave, the plan is for Turkey to set a permanent cease-fire.
Blackburn said, “While I am encouraged that the lines of communication are open, this five-day pause in hostilities does not make up for the lives lost, families displaced, and homes destroyed over the course of the Turkish incursion. Turkey must be held accountable for its destabilization of northern Syria, as well as its massacre of our Kurdish partners. Russia must not be given any geopolitical space; ISIS must not be allowed to resurge. Until Turkey has agreed to a permanent solution that achieves these objectives, the United States must hold strong and these sanctions must remain on the table.”
Blackburn last week issued a call for sanctions:
“For years, American forces, including Tennessee’s own elite 5th Group out of Fort Campbell, have stood alongside our Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Global Coalition partners to provide safety and security to Syria. Each time the possibility of American withdrawal from the region has been presented, I have called for a second look at the impacts of such a decision.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.