A group tasked with studying U.S. policy in Syria warned lawmakers Wednesday that ISIS could see a resurgence because of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria.
The House subcommittee hearing was held at 2 p.m. ET. Watch in the video player above.
Trump’s move allowed Turkey to launch an offensive against Syrian Kurds, who were guarding ISIS fighters and ISIS sympathizers in camps in northern Syria. Since then, hundreds of detainees have escaped.
Members of the Syria Study Group told a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee that those events pose an opportunity for ISIS to regain strength.
“[ISIS] will replenish its ranks with fighters breaking out of detention facilities today and will prey on vulnerable communities as the humanitarian situation deteriorates,” Dana Stroul, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute and co-chair of the Syria Study Group, told lawmakers.
Stroul urged the U.S. to consider the long-term consequences of its decisions in the Middle East and how that could affect Americans.
“What happens in Syria does not stay in Syria,” she said.
Stroul and her co-chair Michael Singh released the group’s final report with recommendations for U.S. policy in Syria last month, weeks before Trump made the controversial decision to withdraw U.S. troops.
“I wouldn’t want to give the impression that everything was hunky dory before recent decisions. It wasn’t, but in the last few days, things have gotten much worse,” Singh said.
Both Republican and Democratic subcommittee members expressed their dismay with Trump’s moves in Syria.
“President Trump’s irresponsible choice makes the American people less safe,” Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., said.
“I was deeply disappointed by the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria and effectively greenlight Turkish incursion, putting our Kurdish allies at great peril,” said Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., in his opening remarks during the hearing.
The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to condemn Trump’s decision to move U.S. troops in Syria.