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Pelosi in Jordan Amid Syria Crisis     10/20 09:35

   House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a group of American lawmakers on a surprise 
visit to Jordan to discuss "the deepening crisis" in Syria amid a shaky 
U.S.-brokered cease-fire.

   AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a group of American 
lawmakers on a surprise visit to Jordan to discuss "the deepening crisis" in 
Syria amid a shaky U.S.-brokered cease-fire.

   The visit came after bipartisan criticism in Washington has slammed 
President Donald Trump for his decision to withdraw the bulk of U.S. troops 
from northern Syria --- clearing the way for Turkey's wide-ranging offensive 
against the Kurdish groups, who had been key U.S. allies in the fight against 
the Islamic State group.

   Turkey agreed on Thursday to suspend its offensive for five days, demanding 
the Kurdish forces withdraw from a designated strip of the border about 30 
kilometers deep (19 miles).

   Pelosi, along with the nine-member Congressional delegation, met with 
Jordan's King Abdullah II in the capital of Amman late Saturday for talks 
focusing on security and "regional stability," according to a statement from 
her office.

   Jordan is a key U.S. ally in the region and has been greatly affected by the 
eight-year-long civil war in neighboring Syria. Jordanian officials say the 
kingdom hosts some 1 million Syrians who have fled the fighting.

   "With the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey's incursion, our delegation 
has engaged in vital discussions about the impact to regional stability, 
increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to 
ISIS, Iran and Russia," said the statement, using the Islamic State group's 
acronym.

   Jordan's state news agency Petra said Abdullah stressed the importance of 
safeguarding Syria's territorial integrity and guarantees for the "safe and 
voluntary" return of refugees.

   "The meeting also covered regional and international efforts to counter 
terrorism within a comprehensive approach," the agency said.

   The Congressional delegation included Democrats Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman 
of the Intelligence Committee, who is leading the impeachment probe into 
President Trump; Eliot Engel, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and 
Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. There was one GOP 
member of the group, Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed 
Services Committee.

   The U.S. Embassy in Amman said the delegation left Jordan early Sunday but 
gave no further details on where it was heading.

   Many Democrat and Republican lawmakers say that the U.S. pullout could make 
way for rivals like Iran and Russia, who back Syrian President Bashar Assad.


(KR)

 
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