400 US Congressmen Urge Trump to Stay in Syria

Wednesday, 22 May, 2019 - 10:00 -

400 US Congressmen Urge Trump to Stay in Syria

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The Israeli-occupied Golan Heights shows an Israeli Merkava tank taking position on the border between Israel and Syria. (File Photo: AFP)
Tel Aviv - London - Asharq Al-Awsat
A group of nearly 400 US congressmen called on President Donald Trump to demonstrate leadership in resolving the prolonged conflict in Syria, asserting that the only choice is to advance policies that can stop the growing threats to US interests, Israel, and regional security and stability.

The congressmen signed Monday a letter sent to Trump saying that at a time of grave insecurity in the Middle East, “we are deeply concerned about the role that terrorist and extremist groups and US adversaries continue to play, particularly in Syria.”

The letter read: “As some of our closest allies in the region are being threatened, American leadership and support are as crucial as ever.”

They recommended several specific steps to advance regional security priorities, including assisting “our ally, Israel, in defending itself in the face of growing threats, including on its northern border.”

The congressmen also called on Trump to increase pressure on Iran and Russia with respect to activities in Syria.

“Working with our allies and partners, we urge you to maintain and increase pressure on Iran and Russia to constrain their destabilizing activities.”

In February, Trump agreed to leave 400 US troops in Syria, after initially deciding to pull all 2,000 immediately.

Meanwhile, the Golan Regional Council revealed that a delegation of US officials will attend a ceremony next month with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lay the cornerstone for a new town in the Golan Heights named after Trump.

A Council official announced that June 12 was set the date for the new community’s cornerstone-laying to commemorate the 53rd anniversary of the ceasefire that ended the Six Day War, during which the Golan Heights, Sinai, the West Bank, and Gaza were occupied.

Backed by the government's funding and full coordination, settlers plan for a huge ceremony that will involve a large group of wealthy Jews who have been invited to come and invest in the new settlement.

Last month, Netanyahu said his new government would name the town after Trump in honor of the US president’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the northern territory.

Netanyahu announced the location of the new settlement near Kela Alon, established since 1991. It will be allocated a large area under the control of the Israeli army in the Golan, on land owned by Syrian farmers who were displaced in the war and destroyed after the occupation.