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 Turkey - a NATO member country - 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" before resorting to military action.
On 6 October, Trump announced a withdrawal of US forces from Syria.
On 9 October, Turkey announced its "Operation Peace Spring," to drive Kurdish forces and remaining Daesh* fighters from the 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 to be 'terrorist' by Ankara.
On 13 October, US Defence Secretary Mark T. Esper said in an interview that the US withdrawal order was motivated by intelligence suggesting the Kurds were looking to strike a deal with the official Damascus in a bid to counterattack 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 told CBS.
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.
On October 17, the United States and Turkey agreed to a five-day ceasefire to allow for the withdrawal of Kurdish forces from northeast Syria. Both Ankara and the Kurds have accused each other of violating the truce.
*Daesh (ISIS, Islamic State, ISIL, IS) is a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia and a number of nations.