Pelosi leads 'bipartisan' US group for meetings in Jordan

Washington (AFP) –


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a group of US lawmakers arrived in Jordan for talks with King Abdullah II, her office said Saturday, just days after the speaker clashed with President Donald Trump in a meeting on Syria policy.

"With the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey?s incursion, our delegation has engaged in vital discussions about the impact to regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia," Pelosi said in a statement.

The statement described the visiting American delegation as "bipartisan," though congressman Mac Thornberry was the only Republican representative listed as being on the trip.

The US visit to Jordan comes after Turkey launched an offensive against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria on October 9, following President Trump's withdrawal of troops from the area.

Trump has defended his move as "strategically brilliant" but earlier this week 129 members of his Republican Party joined Democrats in the House of Representatives denounced the withdrawal.

On Wednesday, Pelosi and Senate minority leader Charles Schumer walked out of an acrimonious White House meeting with Trump on Syria, a sign of the deteriorating relations as the House conducts an impeachment inquiry.

The administration then brokered a ceasefire between Turkish and Kurdish forces Thursday, but on Saturday the sides accused each other of violating the agreement.

The offensive has already killed more than 500 people, including dozens of civilians, while some 300,000 civilians have been displaced within Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.

More than 650,000 Syrian refugees are registered with the UNHCR in Jordan, which shares a 370-kilometer (230-mile) border with Syria.e