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Wednesday, October 09, 2019 4:10 pm

Young calls for NATO response to Turkey attack on Kurds

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

HARLAN – U.S. Sen. Todd Young said Wednesday that NATO members should gather and determine a response to Turkey's military offensive against American-backed Kurds in northern Syria.

"I think we need to convene with the Europeans, our fellow NATO allies, because Turkey is also a NATO ally, and collectively decide the best way forward," Young, R-Ind., said in an interview at Roemke Farms. "This is not America's security challenge alone, this is also the security challenge of Europeans. 

"In fact, one could argue, since a disproportionate number of those ISIS radicals hail from the European continent and because they are disproportionately affected by the refugee flows that occur after ISIS attacks occur, the Europeans should share in the burden," said Young, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

U.S.-backed Kurdish militias have been fighting Islamic State militiants, also known as ISIS, during Syria's civil war. Turkey's attack on Kurds and Islamic State forces comes days after President Donald Trump announced that he would withdraw U.S. troops from the border area of Syria and Turkey.

"I would like to know what the plan and rationale was here for disengagement from Syria," Young said about Trump's decision. "We had a modest troop presence there. When I first heard the president announce that troop presence was going to be removed, I had concerns about the Kurds, because they had allied with us, and we want to incentivize others to ally with us in the defeat of terrorist groups like ISIS.

"Moreover, I had concerns about the stability of that region, because we don't want remnants of ISIS to reconstitute themselves and present an ongoing threat to ourselves and to others," he said.

Young noted that Trump has vowed to withdraw U.S. forces from the Middle East, "and he has kept that promise. He's really made every effort to bring our troops home and ensure that American men and women aren't bearing the full burden of keeping the world safe and secure."

Young visited Roemke Farms to talk with area farmers about agriculture, trade and health care.