The House is expected to vote on a War Powers Resolution this Wednesday introduced by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) that would order President Biden to withdraw all US troops from Syria.
Americans can contact their representatives and urge them to support the resolution (H.Con.Res.21). Click here to find your representative, or call the House switchboard operator at (202) 224-3121.
The US currently has about 900 troops stationed in eastern Syria and backs the Kurdish-led SDF in the region, allowing the US to control about one-third of the country. Gaetz’s resolution would give President Biden 180 days to end the US military occupation, which is opposed by Damascus.
The text of H.Con.Res.21 reads: “That, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(c)), Congress directs the President to remove the United States Armed Forces from Syria by not later than the date that is 180 days after the date of the adoption of this concurrent resolution.”
Gaetz initially introduced a resolution that gave the president only 15 days to withdraw from Syria. The second resolution was introduced to gain more support for the effort as the longer timeline makes it more likely that Democrats will vote in favor of the bill.
In July 2022, the House voted on a proposed amendment to the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act introduced by Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) that would have cut all funds for the US presence in Syria within one year if President Biden didn’t get authorization for the war. The amendment failed, but it received support from about 60% of House Democrats. According to the House Clerk, 130 Democrats voted in favor, while only 25 Republicans supported the amendment.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley made a rare visit to Syria over the weekend to justify the continued US presence. He said the fight against ISIS was worth the risk of keeping the operation going. But the Syrian government and its allies are also sworn enemies of ISIS, so if the US withdrew from the country, the fight against the terror group would continue. The occupation is also part of Washington’s economic war against Damascus, as the US controls the area where most of Syria’s oil fields are located.
US operations in Syria always risk sparking a wider war as Russia also has a presence in the country, something Gaetz pointed out when he introduced the initial resolution. “The risk of an accident or miscalculation or just misuse of authority could lead to direct kinetic conflict between the United States and Russia in Syria. And we ought to really think about whether or not that risk is worth whatever it is we’re fighting for in Syria,” he said.
This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.