President Donald Trump is ready to use military force against Turkey for his actions in Syria, if necessary, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday after US troops withdrew from the region.
"We prefer peace to war." Pompeo told CNBC's Wilfred Frost in an interview recorded on The Closing Bell on Monday. "But in case kinetic or military action is needed, you should know that President Trump is fully prepared to take such action."
The president is heavily criticized for his decision to withdraw US forces from Northern Syria, abandoning the Kurds who are waging a ground war against ISIS. The withdrawal prompted Turkey's invasion of the border area earlier this month, which left more than 1
Pompeo refused to indicate a red line for what would provoke a US military response, saying he did not want to "come forward with the president's decision whether to take a great undertaking to use American military might."
"You have offered the economic powers that we have used. We" will surely use them. We will also use our diplomatic powers. These are our preferences, "Pompeo said.
The State Department declined to comment on Pompeo's remarks.
Trump told reporters at a cabinet meeting on Monday that the US" never agreed to defend the Kurds for the rest of their lives. " "
" We will not take a position. Let them fight alone, "Trump said.
The United States imposed sanctions on Turkey last week after the country's incursion entered Syria's northern border, occupied by Kurdish allies in America's fight against the Islamic State group. Turkey examines the Kurds
On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence announced that Turkey has agreed to a five-day break in the attacks as the US facilitates the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters in the region.After completion of the withdrawal, the US will lift its sanctions on the country, Pence said. 2] The ceasefire was immediately criticized even by Republican allies of the Congress president, who said he was giving Turkey everything it wanted while abandoning its American allies. In an interview, Pompeo defended the agreement, saying it was "completely convinced that this job saved his life. "
" Not only the lives of combatants [Syrian Democratic Forces] but also the ethnic minorities in the region, "Pompeo said, referring to Kurdish-led forces.
"Our allies see this in the same way. We have received real commitments to protect ethnic minorities in the region from the Turks in the negotiation of this statement. I think the work we have done is alive," Pompeo said.
Pompeo also seeks to distinguish Trump's actions in the Middle East from those of his predecessor.
A former Kansas congressman was sharply critical when President Barack Obama appeared to violate his "red line" in 2012. Syria did not allow a threatened military coup against the country despite evidence that its forces used chemical weapons. .
Trump has pressured Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to invade northern Syria before the Turks move to Ku LIZAN. In an extremely non-diplomatic letter sent on October 9, Trump told Erdogan not to be a "strict man." But Erdogan reportedly threw the letter in the trash and the country's military day began that day.
Asked if Trump's actions mimic Obama's actions, Pompeo replied: "It's fundamentally different."
He added: "Turkey is not – the country that Turkey invaded, they invaded, it is Syria, a sovereign nation. We worked with Kurdish friends, SDF up and down the Euphrates River."
"Together we took down the threat from the caliph. of ISIS, "Add Pompeo. "It was for the benefit of the SDF, it was for the benefit of the United States of America and really for the benefit of the world. The commitment we made to work alongside them was fully fulfilled."