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October 15, 2019

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Trump mulls Ankara sanctions

US President Donald Trump warned yesterday that Turkey faces imminent sanctions over its incursion into northeastern Syria against Kurdish militia, but also signalled that Washington would avoid armed conflict with Ankara.

“Big sanctions on Turkey coming!” Trump said, after Turkish attacks stepped up over the weekend on the Syrian Kurds, who had allied with the US war against the Islamic State group.

Trump’s decision last week to pull out of the area — clearing the way for the Turkish incursion — has been attacked at home as a betrayal of America’s Kurdish allies, that risks triggering a resurgence of IS.

Washington and its partners have condemned the Turkish invasion but their threats of sanctions have failed to stop it.

Trump also suggested the Kurds were deliberately freeing some Islamic State prisoners “to get us involved” in the conflict. “Do people really think we should go to war with NATO Member Turkey?” Trump said, ruing “never ending wars.”

“The same people who got us into the Middle East mess are the people who most want to stay there!”

It was not clear whether Trump would issue an executive order for immediate sanctions by the US Treasury or wait for Congress to act.


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