U.S. Republican Senator Mitt Romney, his party's 2012 presidential candidate, blasted President Donald Trump's decision to abandon Kurdish allies in Syria, saying on the Senate floor that it "will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history."
On October 17, the influential Utah senator joined with other members of his party in rare criticism of the Republican president, who has come under blistering bipartisan fire over his move to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria.
With the U.S. troops' removal, Turkish forces have invaded the area to attack Syrian Kurds, who had fought alongside U.S. forces against fighters of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.
Lawmakers from both parties have called the move a "betrayal" of Kurdish allies.
Romney said that removing U.S. troops who protected the Kurds "violates one of our most sacred duties. It strikes at American honor."
He added that he hopes a five-day cease-fire announced earlier on October 17 works, but he insisted that a deal with Turkey should have been made before the pullout, not afterward.
Turkey launched the ground and air offensive nine days ago, saying it wanted to clear the area of a U.S.-allied Kurdish militia and establish a buffer zone to resettle Syrian refugees.
Ankara agreed to the temporary halt in hostilities to let Kurdish-led forces withdraw from the area, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said following talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.