Senators Blackburn and Duckworth Lead Bipartisan Letter to Protect Kurdish Allies in Syria

January 31, 2019

Washington D.C. – Today, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), in partnership with Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), sent a bipartisan letter urging the Trump administration to protect the United States’ Kurdish partners in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The letter comes as the administration considers a withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Syria. Senators Blackburn and Duckworth are members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

“The protection of our Kurdish friends and allies is in the national security interest of the United States,” said Senator Blackburn. “The Kurds have been a reliable partner in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and we must not abandon them now.”

Nashville is home to the largest Kurdish population of any city in the United States.

The full text of the letter is below.


January 31, 2019

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump:

We respectfully request that you develop and implement a strategy to help protect the security and diplomatic equities of our Kurdish partners serving in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) during and after the withdrawal of United States military forces from Syria.

This strategy must use every diplomatic tool to enable the Republic of Turkey to fulfill its Article I obligation “…to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.” Achieving this goal requires guarding against armed conflict between the Republic of Turkey and Kurdish SDF forces that fought alongside the United States in support of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

Defending allies and partners is in our national interest. ISIS threatens global stability and nation-states throughout the world. If the United States is to avoid endless deployments of ground forces throughout the world, we must continually cultivate reliable partners in the region who are willing – and able – to effectively take the fight to our common enemy on the ground. Abandoning friends and doing nothing to prevent their slaughter would undermine the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and jeopardize our nation’s honor.

We urge you to swiftly develop and implement this strategy. We also request that your administration provide Congress with regular status updates on the execution of this whole of government strategy to prevent armed conflict in the region among allies and partners. Thank you in advance for considering our request. We look forward to receiving a prompt response from you or your designee. 


Marsha Blackburn                          Tammy Duckworth
United States Senator                    United States Senator