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Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard spar at debate over Trump’s Syria retreat

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  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii had a heated exchange over the circumstances that led to President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the US-allied Kurds in Syria. 
  • They’re the only veterans of the US military on the debate stage in Ohio on Tuesday night. 
  • The Kurds are facing a Turkish military operation following Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from northeast Syria. 
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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, both veterans of the US military, had a heated exchange on foreign policy during the fourth round of 2020 Democratic debates on Tuesday night.

This came amid a question over Trump’s recent decision to abandon US-allied Kurdish forces in Syria ahead of a Turkish military operation.

The Turkish incursion targets the Kurds, who bore the brunt of the US-led campaign against ISIS.

Gabbard contended that the entire situation was a consequence of what she characterized as America’s “regime change” war in Syria. But Buttigieg vehemently disagreed, stating, “Respectfully, congresswoman, I think that is dead wrong. The slaughter going on in Syria is not a consequence of American presence, it’s a consequence of a withdrawal and a betrayal by this president of American allies and American values.”

“I think we need to get out of Afghanistan, but it’s also the case that a small number of specialized, special operations forces and intelligence capabilities were the only thing that stood between that part of Syria and what we’re seeing now, which is the beginning of a genocide and the resurgence of ISIS,” he added.

This article will continue to be updated. 

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