AMMAN: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a group of American lawmakers on a surprise visit to Jordan to discuss “the deepening crisis” in Syria amid a shaky US-brokered ceasefire.
The visit came after bipartisan criticism in Washington has slammed President Donald Trump for his decision to withdraw the bulk of US troops from northern Syria clearing the way for Turkey’s wide-ranging offensive against the Kurdish groups, who had been key US allies in the fight against the Islamic State group.
Pelosi, along with the nine-member Congressional delegation, met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in the capital of Amman late Saturday for talks focusing on security and “regional stability,” according to a statement from her office.
Jordan is a key US ally in the region and has been greatly affected by the eight-year-long civil war in neighbouring Syria. Jordanian officials say the kingdom hosts some one million Syrians who have fled the fighting.
Jordan’s state news agency Petra said Abdullah stressed the importance of safeguarding Syria’s territorial integrity and guarantees for the “safe and voluntary” return of refugees.
The delegation included Democrats Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Eliot Engel, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. There was one GOP member of the group, Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.
Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2019