Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called for the House to pass his bipartisan legislation to condemn Mr. Trump’s Syria policy and impose sanctions on Turkey. The measure is co-sponsored by the top Republican on the panel, Representative Michael McCaul of Texas.
“I can think of nothing more disgusting in all the years I’ve been in Congress than what this president is allowing to happen to the Kurds,” Mr. Engel said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” adding, “This is going to make people flee from us, and it’s just absolutely disgraceful that the president of the United States is facilitating all of this.”
Mr. Trump took to Twitter to defend the pullout, calling it “very smart not to be involved” in the fighting, and to try to mollify his critics, expressing openness to imposing sanctions on Turkey. But the denunciations piled up on Sunday, coming even from military officials who are usually allies of the administration.
“Shame: while Kurds are slaughtered US military in full retreat in eastern Syria,” tweeted Jack Keane, a retired Army vice chief of staff who has been close to the Trump White House. “Giving up control of airspace enables Turk invasion.”
Throughout the fight with the Islamic State that began in 2014, the Kurdish forces proved to be America’s most able partners. But Turkey has long viewed those forces as an offshoot of what it and the United States consider a terrorist group it has long battled inside its borders and throughout the region.
The Kurdish forces were key to breaking the Islamic State’s control of territory in Syria, effectively destroying its self-proclaimed caliphate. Despite Mr. Trump’s claim that the Islamic State is defeated, the fighters remain an effective insurgent force in Syria and Iraq. If the Turkish incursion into Syria breaks the power of the Kurdish force, some military officials believe the Islamic State could once again find lawless safe havens from which to rebuild.
American military forces pulled out of Ain Issa, a Syrian town north of the Islamic State’s former self-declared capital of Raqqa, on Sunday morning after an advance of the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group backed by Turkey, according to American military officials.