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The US Secretary of State vowed to apply economic and political measures first, before resorting to a military confrontation.
US President Donald Trump is “fully prepared” to take military action against Turkey if the need arises, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday.
“We prefer peace to war,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNBC Monday. “But in the event that kinetic action or military action is needed, you should know that President Trump is fully prepared to undertake that action.”
Pompeo declined to disclose the red line that would prompt military action against Ankara, saying he doesn’t want to “get out in front of the president’s decision about whether to take the awesome undertaking of using America’s military might.”
Pompeo added that Washington would “certainly” use “economic [and] diplomatic powers” first before resorting to military action.
On Thursday last week, US Vice President Mike Pence announced a ceasefire agreement, under which Ankara suspends its military operations for five days, allowing the US to facilitate withdrawal of Kurdish forces from Northern Syria.
On 9 October, Turkey announced its “Operation Peace Spring,” which aims to drive Kurdish forces away from Turkish border and establish a 30-kilometer “safe zone.” Turkey considers the Kurdish forces in Northern Syria indistinguishable from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and organization deemed terrorist by Ankara. On 13 October US Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said President Donald Trump ordered a complete withdrawal of US forces from the region.
According to Esper, the withdrawal order was motivated by intelligence suggesting the Kurds were looking to strike a deal with the official Damascus in a bid to counterattack against advancing Turkish forces.
“We find ourselves, we have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it’s a very untenable situation,” Esper said.
On 14 October, the US condemned the Turkish incursion and imposed sanctions on several Turkish defence, energy and interior ministers, as well as Ankara’s defence and energy departments.