United States, Syria, Senate discussed on All Things Considered


I'm Audie Cornish in Washington. And I'm Ari Shapiro. Senate Republicans sharply rebuked, President Trump today on his foreign policy enough Republicans sided with Democrats to advance a resolution that opposes the immediate. Withdrawal of US troops in Syria and Afghanistan. The move was led by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell ISIS and Al Qaeda have yet today defeated at American national security interest require continued commitment to our mission. The president took many people by surprise in December. When he said he would withdraw troops from Syria arguing that the mission to defeat. Isis was already complete NPR's. Tim Mack joins us now from Capitol Hill, high Tim, hey, there, this is a resolution, it doesn't actually reverse the president's policy. So what what does it accomplish? You're right. The resolution can't force change in President Trump's policy regarding Syria or Afghanistan, but forty three Republicans out of fifty three total in the Senate voted to rebuke him on his Syria policy today, it signals to the president that many. Members of his own party are not with him when it comes to a swift withdrawal and disagree with his belief that ISIS has been defeated. Here's what Trump said in a video message. She posted on Twitter back in December. We have one against ISIS. We've beaten them and we've beaten a badly we've taken back the land. And now it's time for our troops to come back home. The unexpected announcement led to the resignation of the press the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS and secretary of defense Jim Mattis in many in Trump's own administration have said that ISIS isn't defeated that. There are still thousands of ISIS fighters in the area and the pose a risk to regional stability. So the president can do a lot of things in foreign policy unilaterally. But ultimately on your changes relating to funding relating to policy. He needs to maintain a coalition of support in congress, and congress is telling him quite strongly today. He doesn't have their support on a quick withdrawal from Syria or. Afghanistan. How significant is it that the top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell led this effort? Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell speaks for a large group of hawkish Republicans who have a standing disagreement with the president's foreign policy instincts. Here's here's Senator McConnell on the Senate floor today. United States is engaged in Syria and Afghanistan for one simple reason because our enemies are engaged. They're real dangerous to us and to our allies still remain in both these nations. So we must continue to confront them McConnell is most often an ally of President Trump's, but on this issue he felt strongly enough to lay down a marker on where he and the vast majority of Senator stained, and it's kind of becoming a recurring theme on issues like NATO on the murder of journalist Jamal kashogi on Russia. Sanctions. Republican lawmakers have repeatedly stood up to the president on his national security instincts. It really does seem like foreign policy is the one major area. Where Republicans aren't afraid to break with the president. Unlike issues, like health care or taxes or imagination. Are Republicans on the hill signaling that they are more willing to openly break with the president on other matters of foreign policy. You know, one issue to watch and one issue. I'm watching is going to be how congress reacts to US support for the Saudis in the ongoing war in Yemen. Republicans like Senator, Mike Lee and congressman Ken buck. They've joined with progressives. Like Senator Bernie Sanders invoked the War Powers Act to stop US military assistance from being provided to the Saudis back in December the Senate voted to do Justice. But the house didn't take it up. There's a good chance that the new house and Senate will address this issue and try to force the president's hand leading to a confrontation regarding US policy in Yemen later this year, NPR's, Tim, Mack speaking with us from the capital, thanks to him. Thanks a lot as the Senate has been debating pulling out US troops from Syria. More disturbing information has come out today about the conditions for some in that country, the World Health Organization says that in the last two months. At least twenty nine children have died as their families fled the conflict for camp in northeastern Syria. Most died from exposure to the cold on the trip or at the camp itself. NPR's Ruth Sherlock. Was there a few days ago? She's left Syria and joins us now on the line. Welcome back Ruth. Thank you. So the WHO is sounding a warning about the conditions for these thousands of people, right? Who are streaming into this camp. Can you tell us what it was like there? I mean, the conditions are just awful, you know, the US led offensive in northeastern Syria against ISIS is ongoing and as many as strikes going on and this is causing so many people to flee camp officials told us that as many as twenty three thousand people have arrived at the camp in just the last eight weeks, so that overwhelmed, and they just don't have the resources to cope some of the people who arrive at these camps have been working for days. They don't have the proper clothes. They arrived code and often wet site to the skin in it was raining when we were there and they were standing. In these long lines waiting for tense, but there aren't enough tents to go around. So some of these people have to then sleep outside exposed to the elements, and that's what's causing some of these terrible deaths that the World Health who got is Asian noted. But there's also another tragic side to this which is that people who do have he sing exposed to risks from those heaters the having to use these kerosene heaters that are very dangerous and consent tense alike. Last week a seven year old girl died in a tent fire in our who camped just a few days before we arrived there. And we've also heard about other similar cases where this happened, right? This is just one camp. What's the overall displacement situation? Well, as much as half of the country's population is is displaced intern lyrics or outside of the country that some eleven million people, and although there's been a trickle of people returning from neighboring Lebanon to Syria, the vast majority still think it's too dangerous to go back either because of the war, which is ongoing. Going. Ooh, because they face arrest by the Assad regime. Many are living in awful conditions similar to those that we saw in our who camp Syria is a country with multiple conflicts at this point. Right. There's the war against ISIS. That's being led by the US with local fighters. There's the civil war between the government and rebels. That's been going for nearly eight years where do these conflicts San now? Well, this currently own your little pockets of ISIS left. However, people are concerned that should the US withdrew or should the dynamics change on the ground again. Isis could still reemerge and at the same time in parallel, there's a civil war going on in the country. The Syrian government has the upper hand in that but rebel forces still control the northern province of whether millions of people and now the Syrian government and the Russians the allies have said they might plan to attack the area. Finally, you were in northeastern Syria. What were people thinking about this idea of the US withdrawal, people feel angry and betrayed kaddish? Officials say they've lost the lives of. Thousands of young men and women in the US backed fight against ISIS, and the US withdrew could now expose them to new threats a takeover by the Syrian regime or an attack by Turkey who says that the authorities the Kurdish authorities they're allied with militants that it sees as terrorists. But also, you know, Kurdish officials respect you said, privately they don't necessarily believe the withdrawal will happen as quickly as President Trump would like they understand the political divisions that are happening in the US over this. That's NPR's Ruth Sherlock Ruth. Thanks for speaking with us. Thank you. Nearly three months after the midterm elections. North Carolina's ninth district still doesn't have representation in the US house. That's because the state board elections there declined to certify the race to allegations of vote by mail fraud today. Governor ROY Cooper appointed new members to that state board and those five people will soon have to decide whether a whole new election is necessary NPR's, miles parks has more on November. Seventh two thousand eighteen Dan mccready thought is run for congress was over McCreadie ran as a democrat North Carolina's ninth district, he trailed Republican Mark Harris by nine hundred five votes, and he conceded the day after the election that seems like a lifetime ago now, oh, boy it's been such a whirlwind last couple months for like two years creating retracted his concession after the North Carolina State board of elections decided not to certify the race. Instead began investigation center on a political operative higher by the Harris campaign may McRae. Dallas Dallas had a reputation for helping vote by mail. Totals in the east part of the ninth district. Some voters have alleged that Dallas collected people's ballots, which is a legal North Carolina. There have also been questions about whether all the ballots. He allegedly collected were actually turned in. Here's McCreadie again. There was clearly a culture of corruption that was built by my opponent. Exactly how much he knew. And when he knew it, I hope that we'll be able to uncover during the investigation Harris was recently hospitalized and wasn't available for an interview in the past. He said he talked to Dallas often and even at a quote pastorally relationship with him. But he's repeatedly said he knew of no illegal activity, his campaign recently asked the state court certifies election. A judge rejected that request last week Harris and state Republicans argue that there aren't enough votes and question to overturn his nine hundred five vote margin. Anyway, but during the hearing an attorney for the state alluded to the possibility that investigators may have evidence that shows, otherwise, I don't know. Currently what's in that material? I think I can say with some confidence Howard that the material that. Is there certainly suggests that the number of disputed votes more than sufficiently calls this merging into question. The public will know a lot more about that evidence in the next few weeks. The newly appointed state board made up of three Democrats and two Republicans is expected to hold a public hearing took over what investigators have uncovered now what really knows what the evidence is being presented. Well, it show a large amount of fraud a little dog. That's Jerry Cohen a former special counsel for the North Carolina general semi he says what the board calls for a new election or certified Harris, the rules require a bipartisan vote, we have had our state board of elections. Call elections where there has been substantial evidence of fraud. We've had three local elections read out in the last three years, North Carolina. For example, if the board is deadlocked coins says the US house of representatives could dean the seat vacant in that case, the governor can call a new election, but Creedy the thought his candidacy was over months ago. Says he now fully expect. It's a new election to be called to me. I think this is a fight that needs fighting it rises above Republican or democrat or or even won election. I mean, this is about what it means to be an American his campaign has begun staffing and fundraising accordingly since early December..

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