Nearly 400 members of Congress have signed a bipartisan letter to President Donald Trump calling on him to safeguard Israel’s interests with Syria’s civil war coming to an end, JTA reported on Monday.
The letter, sent from members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, urged Trump to ensure that Israel has the support and materiel to maintain its qualitative military edge in the region.
It also wants economic and diplomatic pressure on Russia and Iran to retreat from their support for the Assad regime, and intensifying sanctions on Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist militia that is Iran’s ally.
“With the region in flux, it remains critical that we reiterate to both friend and foe in the region that we continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself,” the letter reads, according to JTA.
The letter was spearheaded by the top foreign policy lawmakers in each chamber: Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Michael McCaul, R-Texas, its ranking Republican; and Sens. James Risch, R-Idaho, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., its ranking Democrat.
Trump unexpectedly announced last December that he had ordered the Pentagon to pull all American forces out of Syria within 30 days.
Following the president’s initial order to withdraw from Syria within one month, Trump met with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham on the withdrawal, and agreed to stagger the pull-out over a four-month period.
In March, Trump said he would leave some 400 troops in Syria following the withdrawal, including 200 who will be stationed close to the border with Israel.