In Turkey, Lynch Meets with Syrian Rebel Fighters

Jul 1, 2015

ANKARA, TURKEY – Today, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston), the leading Democrat on the House National Security Subcommittee, completed a two-day visit to Turkey as part of a Congressional Delegation led by U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and including Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Worcester). As tensions grow along the border of Turkey and Syria, the delegation traveled to Gaziantep, north of the Syrian border, to meet with Syrian opposition leaders and local council representatives, Syrian rebel fighters and independent media activists.

Following his meetings in Gaziantep, Congressman Lynch stated, “We really need full verification and transparency from the Syrian opposition forces before we agree to provide any weapons and training. Not every rebel fighting Bashar al-Assad is pro-democracy or moderate,” said Lynch, who cautioned “major challenges remain as we try to recruit, train and equip these groups to fight ISIL. This is a very difficult task and their success is far from certain.”

The Syrian civil war has displaced more than 3 million people and more than 1.8 million refugees have fled to Turkey. While in Gaziantep, the delegation visited the Syrian American Medical Society office that provides refugees with critical basic services.

"This is a growing crisis with no easy answers. Currently there are 500,000 school age children who are not being educated. If we don't act quickly, this lost generation will become a receptive audience to the jihadist message. We have to encourage our international neighbors to do their part to ease the suffering of these refugees and restore stability to this region,” added Lynch