Turkey’s offensive on Kurdish positions in northeastern Syria after the US pulled out its troops from the country, President Donald Trump on Monday announced that he will authorise sanctions against Turkish officials, raise steel tariffs and end negotiations on a USD 100 billion trade deal.
Last week, Turkey launched a cross-border assault on Kurdish fighters after the US decided to withdraw troops from Syria, a move that was criticised by the Republicans, with some terming it a “betrayal” of the Kurds.
“This (executive) order will enable the US to impose powerful additional sanctions on those who may be involved in serious human rights abuses, obstructing a ceasefire, preventing displaced persons from returning home, forcibly repatriating refugees or threatening the peace, security or stability in Syria,” Trump said in a statement.
“I’m fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path,” the president said.
On pulling back of US troops, Trump said that only a small contingent will remain at the Tanf Garrison in southern Syria to disrupt remnants of the ISIS.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump had promised to bring back US troops from Syria and Afghanistan.
US forces have defeated the ISIS physical caliphate, the troops are coming out will now redeploy and remain in the region to monitor the situation and prevent a repeat of 2014, when the neglected threat of ISIS raged across Syria and Iraq, he said.
Earlier on Monday, the Syrian army entered the city of Tabqa in the northern countryside of Raqqa province, as part of its move to enter Kurdish-held areas to counter the ongoing Turkish assault in the region.
More than 50 people, including civilians, have been killed last week as the Turkish offensive in Syria, which was launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan aimed at pushing the Kurdish forces away from its border.
On Sunday, Kurdish officials had said that nearly 800 relatives of foreign IS members had escaped from Ayn Issa, a camp in the north.
(With Inputs from PTI)