A bipartisan group of United States senators said on Thursday they will move “full steam” ahead with legislation aimed at imposing tough new sanctions on Turkey despite the announcement that Ankara had agreed to a ceasefire of its military operation in northern Syria.
“Congress is going to speak with a very firm, singular voice that we will impose sanctions in the strongest measure against this Turkish outrage,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said at a conference on Thursday at the US Capitol.
If not halted, Turkey’s action “will lead to the re-emergence of ISIS, the destruction of an ally, the Kurds, and eventually benefit to Iran at the detriment of Israel,” Graham said.
Turkey launched a military operation against Kurdish forces in northeast Syria after US President Donald Trump announced earlier this month he was withdrawing US troops from the region. The withdrawal and subsequent Turkish operation met sharp criticism from politicians in the US.
After meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Thursday, US Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Turkey agreed to an eight-day ceasefire to allow Kurdish forces to withdraw from the border areas Turkey seeks to control. He said Turkey would end its operation following the withdrawal.