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Trump's Syria Envoy Points to Alleged 'War Crimes'

James Jeffrey talks to Capitol Hill lawmakers
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2019 5:00 PM CDT
Turkish soldiers prepare to enter Syria aboard an armoured personnel carrier at the border with Syria in Karkamis, Gaziantep province, southeastern Turkey, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019.   (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

(Newser) – President Trump hailed a "big success" in Syria and lifted sanctions against Turkey on Wednesday as his Syria envoy said war crimes had likely been committed there, USA Today reports. "We haven't seen widespread evidence of ethnic cleansing," said the Syria representative, James Jeffrey, per Reuters. "Many people fled because they're very concerned about these Turkish-supported Syrian opposition forces, as we are. We've seen several incidents which we consider war crimes." Speaking at a House of Representatives hearing, Jeffrey said US officials were investigating the reports and a separate allegation of Turkish forces using restricted burning white phosphorus.

But Jeffrey defended President Trump's move to pull US troops out of northern Syria and said Turkey would have attacked the Kurds anyway. In a Senate committee hearing yesterday, he estimated Kurdish deaths in the "low hundreds" and said "dozens" of ISIS militants had escaped amid the assault, per NPR. Meanwhile, several reports and "graphic footage" have emerged suggesting that Turkey used white phosphorous shells in the attack, per the New York Post. There are also reports of the terrifying assault and murder of Kurdish politician Hevrin Khalaf, a 35-year-old woman, on Oct. 12. "The killers were filmed shouting insults while firing," writes Rosa Burc at the New York Times. (Read more Syria stories.)

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