Trump’s Syria policy upsetting Evangelicals – USA Today
Evangelical voters, who have been firm in their support of U.S. president are voicing their frustration with Donald Trump over his decision to withdraw most U.S. forces from Syria and leave Christians and Kurds fleeing persecution from Turkish-backed militias, USA Today reported on Sunday.
The most notable criticism against the U.S. move has come from televangelist Pat Robertson, who slammed blasted the decision, saying Trump was "in danger of losing the mandate of heaven,” it said.
The Turkish military and its allied Syrian rebels, launched a military operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in northeast Syria on Oct. 9. Despite a ceasefire between the United States and Turkey and, separately, between Turkey and Russia, there are reports of a continued onslaught targeting the country’s Christian and Kurdish communities.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he has not received reports of a genocide in the making in the region of war-torn Syria where roughly 100,000 Christians live.
The White House has however said they are received conflicting reports from inside Syria.
Meanwhile, the administration has authorised $50 million in assistance for Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in northeast Syria, it said.
American Christian missionary in Syria, David Eubank, who has regularly been photos and videos on Twitter, has said, "... It is a zone of death, and we're complicit".
Tony Perkins, a powerful conservative Christian leader, has gone on record to say that Syria is home to "some of the longest consistent Christian communities in Christendom,’’and "it's important that they stay there''.
The U.S. policy in Syria is not only ruffling the feathers of Evangelicals.
A poll published by Fox News on Sunday showed Trump’s Syria policy remains unpopular with Americans, who are doubtful of the president’s claim that the Islamic State ( ISIS) has been defeated.
“Among Democrats, 73 percent want the U.S. to stay in Syria, 85 percent think ISIS remains, and 87 percent disapprove of Trump on Syria,” the poll found.
As for Republicans, 66 percent think the U.S. should keep troops in Syria and 56 percent say ISIS is not defeated, down from 67 percent in January, according to the poll.
Evangelicals are hoping that international and domestic pressure will prompt Trump to reverse course and send troops not just to protect Syrian oil fields in eastern Syria, as expressed recently, but also the Syrian people who live further north, USA Today said.
"We view the Turkish threat as an existential threat against us," the article quoted Elizabeth Gawyria, a Syriac Christian whose family survived the Seyfo massacre, as in a March video posted on Twitter." They want to take us from our homeland again".