In bipartisan vote, US House condemns Trump’s Syria pullout, Latest World News - The New Paper

In bipartisan vote, US House condemns Trump’s Syria pullout

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WASHINGTON US President Donald Trump defended as "strategically brilliant" his decision to pull US troops out of Syria, as the House of Representatives condemned the move in a rare bipartisan rebuke.

A total of 129 members of Mr Trump's Republican Party joined Democrats as the House denounced the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria in a 354-60 vote.

The joint resolution called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to immediately halt military operations against Kurdish militants in Syria.

In a sign of Mr Trump's deteriorating relationship with Congress, where the House is conducting an impeachment inquiry, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Charles Schumer walked out of what they said was an acrimonious White House meeting with him.

Mr Schumer said Mr Trump had called Ms Pelosi a "third-rate politician" while the speaker said the president had experienced a "meltdown".

Faced with mounting bipartisan criticism in Washington over the abrupt pullout of US forces from Syria, Mr Trump denied he had given Erdogan a "green light" to launch operations against the Kurds.

In a letter dated Oct 9, Mr Trump told Mr Erdogan "you don't want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands" of people and urged him not to be a "tough guy" or a "fool".

"History will look upon you favourably if you get this done the right and humane way," Mr Trump wrote.

Mr Trump emphasised to reporters that US troops were out of harm's way and that the fallout from the US withdrawal was for Syria, Turkey and Russia to work out among themselves.

"I view the situation on the Turkish border with Syria to be, for the United States, strategically brilliant," Mr Trump said. "Our soldiers are out of there, our soldiers are totally safe. They've got to work it out.

"Turkey has gone into Syria. If Turkey goes into Syria, that's between Turkey and Syria - it's not between Turkey and the United States, like a lot of stupid people would like you to believe," he said.

As for the Kurds, Mr Trump said they "know how to fight and as I said, they aren't angels. They are not angels if you take a look."

Mr Trump said the Kurdish rebel group PKK, who have waged a decades-long insurgency against Ankara, were "probably" a bigger terror threat than the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. - AFP