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Top Democrats reject US-Turkey agreement on Syria invasion

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer say deal gave Turkey 'everything'
Pelosi and Schumer's statement adds to growing outcry in US Congress over Trump's response to Turkish offensive (AFP)

Democratic leaders in Congress rejected the agreement made between the United States and Turkey over Ankara's military incursion into Syria, calling the deal a "sham".

President Donald Trump had hailed the agreement, which grants Turkey a "safe zone" free of Kurdish fighters along its southern border, saying that it will save "millions and millions" of lives. 

Still, later on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the deal, saying that it gave Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "everything" while securing no concessions from Ankara. 

In fact, top Turkish officials had said earlier in the day that Ankara had gotten everything it wanted from the deal.

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"President Trump is flailing," Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement.

"The President's decision to reverse sanctions against Turkey for brutally attacking our Kurdish partners in exchange for a sham ceasefire seriously undermines the credibility of America's foreign policy and sends a dangerous message to our allies and adversaries alike that our word cannot be trusted," they said.

The two Democrat leaders also announced that next week they would be introducing bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives that would impose sanctions on Turkey over its military operation in northern Syria.

Pelosi and Schumer's statement adds to a growing outcry in US Congress over the Trump administration's response to the Turkish offensive, which is being seen by many on Capitol Hill as a betrayal of the Kurdish forces that allied with the US in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group.

On Wednesday, the House overwhelmingly passed a non-binding resolution condemning the withdrawal earlier this month of US troops from northern Syria, which was followed by the Turkish invasion.

"The immediate cause of this crisis was President Trump’s betrayal of our Kurdish partners," said Congressman Eliot Engel, who proposed a sanctions bill earlier this week.

'The immediate cause of this crisis was President Trump’s betrayal of our Kurdish partners'

- Congressman Eliot Engels

Senator Lindsey Graham, a usual ally of Trump, said on Thursday that he would be continuing with his sanctions legislation in the Senate despite the agreement.

"Senators Van Hollen and Graham have spoken, and they agree on the need to move full steam ahead with their legislation," Bridgett Frey, a spokeswoman for Senator Chris Van Hollen, who is co-sponsoring the bill, told MEE in an email.