U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard traveled to Syria this week on what her aides described as a “fact-finding” mission relating to her efforts to bring resolution to a war that has torn the country apart and heightened tensions between the United States and Russia.
“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,” according to a statement from Emily Latimer, a spokeswoman for the congresswoman. “For security reasons, we will not be releasing additional details or comments until she returns.”
Gabbard’s trip also includes travel to Lebanon. She is scheduled to be back in Washington, D.C. when Congress resumes on January 22.
Gabbard has been a sharp critic of U.S. intervention in Syria and attempts to oust President Bashar al-Assad — who has come under fire for human rights abuses and war crimes — maintaining that removing the leader will create a vacuum that will be filled by Islamic terrorist groups.
Gabbard recently introduced the Stop Arming Terrorist Act out of concern that the U.S. has been inadvertently arming groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda as the government works to aid Syrian rebel groups.
“Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has long been committed to peace and ending counterproductive, interventionist wars,” said Latimer. “She recently introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, legislation that would stop our government from directly or indirectly supporting groups allied with and supporting terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda.”
Gabbard’s office has been quiet about the trip until now. On Monday, her office told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that Gabbard would not be attending President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday because she would be on a “fact-finding trip abroad.” But her office didn’t respond to questions about where Gabbard was until this morning.