Donald Trump, the United States President, has criticised Turkey for its military offensive in north-eastern Syria, calling it a “bad idea”.
President Trump stated his position on Wednesday, hours after Turkish military fighter jets bombed two villages and a large detachment of Turkish ground troops moved into the war-torn country.
Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the aim was to “prevent the creation of a terror corridor” on the border between his country and Syria.
But President Trump — who pulled out US troops from the area in what was interpreted as a green light for Turkey to assault Kurdish militias previously allied with the United States — in a statement insisted that Washington “does not endorse this attack”.
He also said Turkey had committed to ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place, noting that the US “will hold them to this commitment”.
“In addition, Turkey is now responsible for ensuring all ISIS fighters being held captive remain in prison and that ISIS does not reconstitute in any way, shape or form,” he said.
“We expect Turkey to abide by all of its commitments, and we continue to monitor the situation closely,” the statement read.
The US President warned that he would disrupt Turkey’s economy should any humanitarian crisis occur during the military offensive.
“If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!),” Trump tweeted.
Speaking hours later in an interview, Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, said the US did not approve of the Turkish incursion into Syria.
“The United States didn’t give Turkey a green light,” he said.
He said reports the US had allowed Turkey to launch the offensive were “just false”.
Pompeo also defended President Trump’s decision to pull out US troops from north-eastern Syria, saying Turkey has a “legitimate security concern” and “a terrorist threat to their south”.
President Trump has come under severe criticism in Washington, including from senior members of his own Republican Party, over what they describe as a betrayal of the Kurdish militias that fought alongside US forces to defeat the Islamic State movement in Syria.