BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:00 A.M.) – The U.S. Senate voted 70-26 in favor of a non-binding amendment, drafted by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, saying that terrorist groups in both Syria and Afghanistan still pose a serious threat.
As reported by the Reuters News Agency, the new amendment acknowledged the U.S.’ progress against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) and Al-Qaeda in both Syria and Afghanistan but warned that “a precipitous withdrawal” could destabilize the region and create a vacuum that could be filled by Iran or Russia.
The amendment called on the Trump administration to certify conditions had been met for the groups’ “enduring defeat” before any significant withdrawal from Syria or Afghanistan.
Before the vote, McConnell said he introduced the bill so that the Senate could “speak clearly and directly about the importance of the” missions in Afghanistan and Syria.
The passage was expected after the Senate voted to advance it in a procedural vote last week. After concerns from some Democrats, the Senate approved a change to the bill making it clear the amendment was not intended to be a declaration of war or authorization to use military force.
The vote added the amendment to a broader Middle East security bill making its way through Congress. The Senate voted 72-24 to advance the broader bill in a procedural vote on Monday after the amendment vote.