U.S. Senator Doug Jones says withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria was ill-considered

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- U.S. Sen. Doug Jones said Senators met Thursday with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense about Turkey's incursion into Syria and the ongoing crisis facing the Kurds.

Jones said the current crisis could have been avoided.

"This all started with a phone call in an announcement last December, where the President telegraphed exactly what he was going to do, to Turkey, which let them build up their strength over the last few months," he said.

Jones said the Kurds have been strong allies and the decision to withdraw U.S. forces was ill-considered.

"Abandoning the Kurds in Syria is going to have a devastating impact on the entire Middle East," Jones said. "Last April when I was in Iraq and Afghanistan, we were already seeing signs that ISIS was strengthening, rebuilding. But this decision, today has thrown the gates open to help ISIS resurge."

Alabama's senior U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby hailed Vice President Mike Pence's announcement of a cease-fire by Turkey.

But Shelby said Syria remains one of the top policy challenges for the U.S.

"Although there is no easy resolution, I believe our path forward warrants a strategic and bipartisan effort to reach a solution that prioritizes American leadership," Shelby said. "I believe the recent cease-fire is a good first step in achieving this goal."

Jones said he is asking President Trump to take steps to address the crisis.

"I sent a letter to the President with a bipartisan group of my colleagues urging him to recommit to our Kurdish allies and urge Turkey to end their offensive and find a way to a peaceful resolution," said Jones.

Jones said he's also considering legislation that would require the Trump Administration to propose a strategy for combating ISIS.

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