Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard has made an unannounced trip to Syria and Lebanon, travelling to the region two months after she sat down with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss foreign policy.
Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard has made an unannounced trip to Syria and Lebanon, travelling to the region two months after she sat down with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss foreign policy. The Hawaii congresswoman has frequently challenged President Barack Obama on national security issues. In the meeting with Trump, she warned him about escalating the civil war in Syria by establishing a no-fly zone to protect civilians from bombing. She has said she believes that creating such a safe zone off limits to military aircraft could bring the US into direct conflict with Russia and result in nuclear war.
Spokeswoman Emily Latimer yesterday said that Gabbard, who is a major in the Army National Guard, “has long been committed to peace and ending counterproductive, interventionist wars.
Latimer wouldn’t say if Gabbard met with Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“As a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, and as an individual committed to doing all she can to promote and work for peace, she felt it was important to meet with a number of individuals and groups including religious leaders, humanitarian workers, refugees and government and community leaders,” Latimer said in a statement.
She said she wouldn’t provide any additional details on the trip until Gabbard returns.
Al-Watan, a pro-government Syrian daily, reported that a US delegation including Gabbard visited the city of Aleppo. The paper said the delegation visited the Aleppo citadel, which has been partially damaged by fighting, along with parts of eastern Aleppo that had until December 22 been in rebel control.
The State Department has issued a travel warning for Syria and continues to warn US citizens against all travel to the country.
A State Department official, who was not authorised to speak publicly about the matter, said as the trip was private, the department was not involved.
The office of House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was not consulted prior to Gabbard’s trip, according to a senior Republican aide.