Reuters – Duvar English
Republican and Democratic U.S. senators asked the State Department on Wednesday to quickly provide a visa so that the commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) could visit the United States to discuss the situation in the country.
Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Marsha Blackburn and Democrats Chris Van Hollen, Jeanne Shaheen and Richard Blumenthal wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking him to expedite a visa for SDF commander Mazloum Abdi Kobani.
“To say we are extremely concerned with the situation unfolding in northern Syria is an understatement,” they said in their letter, saying it would benefit both Congress and President Donald Trump’s administration to hear from Kobani.
Their request came hours after Trump announced that a ceasefire in northern Syria was now permanent and he lifted sanctions on Turkey as a result, rejecting criticism of his decision to pull out U.S. troops that allowed Kurdish allies to come under attack from Turkey.
The lawmakers who sent the letter have been among the loudest voices in the U.S. Congress lamenting Trump’s decision, which many see as abandoning Kurdish forces who fought for years alongside U.S. troops as they battled Islamic State militants.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday thanked SDF commander Mazloum Abdi, who simultaneously praised Trump’s “great” and “tireless” efforts on the ceasefire deal.
A short while after his speech, Trump thanked Abdi once again from Twitter, as he also retweeted Abdi’s remarks.
Ankara considers the People’s Protections Units (YPG), which forms the bulk of SDF, as the Syrian arm of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), thus argues the U.S. should cut ties both with YPG and SDF. The PKK has been designated as “terrorist organization” by Turkey, the U.S and the EU.
Turkey claims, Mazloum Abdi Kobani, whose real name is Ferhat Abdi Şahin, killed 41 Turkish civilians and wounded more than 400 in his 28 years in the PKK.