US Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Monday said Turkey’s “unilateral invasion” in northern Syria has resulted in widespread casualties and destruction. Esper will seek collective and individual diplomatic and economic measures in response to Turkish actions in his NATO visit next week in Brussels. "This unacceptable incursion has also undermined the successful multinational ‘Defeat ISIS’ mission in Syria, and resulted in the release of many dangerous ISIS detainee”, Esper’s statement reads.
Earlier, Turkey launched a ground offensive on Kurdish fighters after the US decided to withdraw troops from Syria. However, this move by US President has attracted criticism across party lines.
"Despite the opposition and repeated warnings from the US and the international community, Turkish President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan ordered a unilateral invasion of northern Syria that has resulted in widespread casualties, refugees, destruction, insecurity, and a growing threat to US military forces," he added.
"We are also at risk of being engulfed in a broader conflict. Therefore, at the President’s (Donald Trump) direction, the Department of Defense is executing a deliberate withdrawal of US military personnel from northeast Syria," the defense secretary said.
In a joint statement, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Foreign Relation Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez, and Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jack Reed accused Trump of “reckless decision-making” in Syria and Turkey.
The statement also added that President Trump’s withdrawal of US forces is contributing to the chaos and havoc Turkey is causing in northeastern Syria.