HARTFORD—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, on Thursday held a press conference with members of the Syrian Kurdish community in Connecticut and legal experts to discuss the president’s reckless foreign policy decisions that greenlighted Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria. Murphy was joined by Azad Hamoto, Kate Dischino, and Will Kneerim.

Earlier this week, Murphy and U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) called on the president to reconsider his decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria and open the door for Turkey to attack, calling it a victory for Assad, Russia, Iran, and ISIS. On Wednesday, Murphy released a statement after it was reported that Turkey launched an offensive against Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria.

Excerpts of Murphy’s Q&A with reporters are below:

On Sanctions Against Turkey:

MURPHY: “There has been some interest in imposing sanctions against Turkey—I have concerns about that approach. First, it's not going to stop the war, it's not going to save the Kurds. Second, it relies on the president enacting the sanctions. The Congress has actually already imposed sanctions on Turkey for some of their other bad behavior in the region. The president has refused to enact those sanctions.

“So, I worry that sanctions could give Congress the sense that it has done something without actually changing the reality on the ground. So, I've expressed interest in talking about sanctions legislation, but I'm not sure that that's going to make a meaningful difference. And I also think people like Lindsey Graham, who claimed to have a lot of influence over the president should be using that influence and using that leverage, instead of giving up on the president and the White House and running to pass a sanctions bill that might not actually change the situation.”

On President Trump’s Willingness to Reverse this Decision:

MURPHY: “I think the chances are slim that the president is going to change his mind, and it may be too late. The offensive has begun. The airstrikes are happening as we speak, Turkish troops are moving in. But it's not impossible, that the President couldn't remove his green light. At the very least, he could work to come to an understanding with Erdogan as to where this offensive will take place, how long it will last, and to assure that the rules of conduct in conflict are followed. But the president doesn't seem interested in any of that.

“He just gave the green light to Erdogan to do whatever he wanted in northeastern Syria, and then he seems to have washed his hands of the whole endeavor. So the chances are not great that the President will change his mind, but that doesn't mean that we should stop trying.”

On Republican Support of the President:

MURPHY: “I don't know why these Republicans continue to protect the president. I'm not sure what they're getting out of this relationship they believe to have with him, given that he didn't check with any of them, before he abandoned our partners in Syria. So, they are his protectors today. They are shilling for him every day and every night, when it comes to the corruption he's been involved in overseas, and yet he doesn't seem to care. He doesn't seem to listen to any of the people who are his primary protectors.”

On the Future of Syria:

MURPHY: “I would probably regret trying to predict what Syria will look like a month or two months from now. The Kurds aren't going to stand still, they're going to look for someone else who will protect them, if not the United States. And that might be the Assad regime. I mean, the Kurds don't have many places to go other than to Assad. So you might end up with a situation in which Assad is the primary beneficiary of this move, and he ends up regaining control over parts of Syria that he does not control today. So at the end of this, you will likely have tens of thousands of Kurds murdered, ISIS back on the march, and Assad stronger than ever before, with Russia crowing on the sidelines. Tell me how that is in the U.S. security interests of the United States.”