WASHINGTON, DC: Today, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) released the following statement after voting against H.Con.Res. 21, which would require the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria:
“In August 2021 we all watched in horror as the Biden Administration’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal left 13 of our servicemembers dead and allowed the Taliban to retake the country in days,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “It was particularly difficult for me and my fellow veterans who sacrificed so much to stabilize this region to see such weakness portrayed by the United States on the world stage. It keeps me up at night knowing our enemies may no longer fear us and our allies no longer trust us.
“Withdrawing our limited forces from Syria will not only further weaken our national security and that of our allies, but also cede a dangerous amount of power in the region to Iran and Russia,” continued Congresswoman Kiggans. “It is strategically important for the United States to maintain a strong foothold in the region. While ISIS no longer controls significant territory in Syria, thousands of ISIS terrorist fighters remain in the area, ready, willing, and able to do harm to America and our allies. We cannot neutralize this threat from a position of weakness.
“The United States does not bow to the will of terrorists. I am committed to restoring American strength and will always fight to ensure our servicemembers have the tools and resources they need to accomplish their mission and come home safely.”
H.Con.Res. 21 presumes that the U.S. troop presence in Syria is not authorized by Congress. That is false. The U.S. is conducting limited but important counter terrorism operations against ISIS pursuant to the 2001 Counter Terrorism Authorization for Use of Military Force. Those operations are regularly reported to Congress consistent with the law.
Troop levels in Syria have remained low and unchanged since 2019.
The U.S. forces in Syria and our allies are keeping the ISIS threat at bay. In 2022, the U.S. conducted 108 partner and 14 unilateral operations, killing 466 ISIS operatives and detaining 215 others in Syria.
During her time in the United States Navy, Congresswoman Kiggans flew H-46 and H-3 helicopters while completing two tours of duty to the Persian Gulf. She the daughter of an Army Green Beret, wife of a Navy F/A-18 Pilot, and mother to children who serve. In Congress, she is a member of both the House Armed Services Committee and the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.