29 Republicans in the US House of Representatives announced on Thursday they would introduce legislation to impose sanctions against Turkey in the wake of its assault on Kurdish forces in Syria, Reuters reported.
A day after Republicans and Democrats announced similar legislation in the Senate, the lawmakers - including Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican Whip Steve Scalise and other party leaders - said they wanted a strong response to Ankara’s aggression.
“President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan and his regime must face serious consequences for mercilessly attacking our Kurdish allies in northern Syria,” Republican Representative Liz Cheney, chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear how the legislation would fare in the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats.
Turkey launched the military operation on Wednesday in an attempt to push out Kurdish militias. The operation began three days after President Donald Trump’s announcement on Sunday of a withdrawal of US forces in northeastern Syria, with some arguing the move was an authorization for Turkey to invade the region.
Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria was condemned by senior Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who said the move “would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime”.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also expressed opposition to Trump’s sudden decision, warning such a move would be a “nightmare for Israel”. On Tuesday, Graham threatened Turkey with devastating sanctions if it launches an operation in northern Syria.
The House Republicans behind Thursday’s announcements stressed that their intention was to strike back at Ankara in statements that did not criticize Trump, noted Reuters.