Senator Graham says U.S. will not abandon Syrian Kurdish forces

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, during the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday, said the United States would not abandon Syrian Kurdish forces.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), spearheaded by Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) was the key ally of the United States in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).

Turkey sees the SDF and its affiliates as offshoots of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil. Trump’s Oct. 6 decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the country prompted a Turkish cross-border offensive against the Kurdish-led group.

"We are not going to abandon the YPG, SDF elements in Syria...We are not going to abandon our allies and we're not going to continue to allow Turkey to (use) military force and enter into Syria and ethnically cleanse 300,000 Kurds who live along the border," Graham said during Thursday's meeting with Erdoğan.

Graham also countered Erdoğan when he claimed that Turkey had fought ISIS.

"President Erdoğan said that Turkey bore the brunt of the battle against ISIS, that really infuriated me because it was the Kurds and the SDF forces that lost 10,000 wounded and killed in action to destroy ISIS," Graham said in response.