U.S. President Donald Trump has announced that he will soon sign an executive order that includes sanctions against Turkish officials and further economic measures.
The executive order will impose sanctions against current and former Turkish government officials “and any persons contributing to Turkey’s destabilising actions in north-east Syria,” increase steel tariffs to levels before they were reduced in May this year, and immediately stop negotiations on a $ 100 billion trade deal.
The statement came on the sixth day of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring targeting north-east Syria with the aim to break U.S.-allied majority-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) control on the region.
The operation had launched after Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the area. The U.S. president said in his statement that the troops leaving north-east Syria will re-deploy in southern Syria to “prevent a repeat of 2014, when the neglected threat of ISIS raged across Syria and Iraq.”
Trump announced further sanctions on those involved in human rights abuses, including forcibly repatriating refugees and threatening stability in Syria, as Turkey’s offensive has paved the way for war crimes.
“I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path,” he said.
Turkey must not jeopardise the gains against ISIS, and vulnerable ethnic and religious minorities in north-east Syria must be protected, he added.
Evangelical Christians have been among the most vocal critics of the president’s decision to withdraw from Syria, as Turkey’s offensive has put Syrian Christians at risk.
Turkey also “is now, or may be in the future” responsible for the ISIS members held in prisons and camps in the Kurdish-held region targeted in the operation, Trump said, but the country “does not appear to be mitigating the humanitarian effects of its invasion.”