Gabbard says US funding terror after secret trip to Syria
January 26, 2017
Hawaiian Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard is calling for the US to stop funding terrorists after a secret self funded “fact-finding mission” to Syria.
(WASHINGTON, DC) Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has called on the US to put an end to the “illegal war” she believes it wages in Syria after visiting Damascus and Aleppo. During her trip, she spoke with civilians, religious leaders, opposition leaders, and President Assad.
Gabbard described her privately-funded seven-day trip to Lebanon and Syria as a “fact-finding mission” to learn the truth about the war by speaking directly to the Syrian people. The itinerary was kept secret until Gabbard’s return to the US for security reasons.
Gabbard travelled to Beirut, and then to Damascus and Aleppo, where she spoke with Syrian students, entrepreneurs, academics, and aid workers. She also received firsthand accounts of the conflict from refugees displaced by the war.
She met with a number of religious leaders, including The Grand Mufti of Syria Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun and Archbishop Denys Antoine Chahda, who heads the Syrian Catholic Church of Aleppo.
Gabbard also met with several leaders of the Syrian opposition who spearheaded anti-government protests in 2011. She says some of them believe that the originally peaceful uprising was hijacked by jihadists “funded and supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, the United States.”
Contrary to the official US narrative that terrorist groups such as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front could be “separated” from the moderate opposition which fights by their side, Gabbard said that the Syrian people she talked with do not distinguish between the various militant groups.
The U.S. must stop supporting terrorists who are destroying Syria and her people.https://t.co/Gngsh01XCB
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 26, 2017
“Their message to the American people was powerful and consistent: There is no difference between ‘moderate’ rebels and al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) or ISIS — they are all the same,” Gabbard said, describing the essence of the Syrian conflict as “a war between terrorists under the command of groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda and the Syrian government.”
During an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday, Gabbard told a story about a 19 year old girl she spoke with in Aleppo who had experienced the horrors of ISIS firsthand.
“When she was 14 years old these rebels, that people say we should continue supporting, they came and kidnapped her, they raped her multiple times, they killed her father in cold blood right in front of her and her little brother,” Gabbard told Jake Tapper. “All she is asking for, literally, is for the United States to stop supporting these so-called rebel groups, stop supporting these terrorists, so that the Syrian people can begin to try to get back to some semblance of normalcy in their lives.”
Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran, spoke out against the Democratic Obama administration’s policy of supporting the “moderate opposition” against Assad in Syria’s six-year-old civil war.
In December, Gabbard introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act (H.R.608), designed to prevent the US government from providing direct assistance to terrorist groups and to “prohibit the Federal government from funding assistance to countries that are directly or indirectly supporting those terrorist groups.
The bill was introduced to the House on January 23rd and is awaiting review before being scheduled for debate and vote. On Tuesday, Gabbard wrote in her blog,“I return to Washington, DC with even greater resolve to end our illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government,” adding, “I call upon Congress and the new Administration to answer the pleas of the Syrian people immediately and support the Stop Arming Terrorists Act.”
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