U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said his administration “will soon” be issuing an executive order authorizing the possible imposition of sanctions on Turkey, including current and former government officials.
In a statement posted on Twitter, he added that steel tariffs will again be raised to 50% and negotiations for a $100 billion trade deal will be stopped “immediately” by the U.S. Commerce Department.
The president also said he is withdrawing the remaining U.S. service members from northeast Syria.
“A small footprint of U.S. forces will remain at At Tanf Garrison in southern Syria to continue to disrupt remnants of ISIS,” the statement said, using another name for Daesh.
Minutes before the sanctions statement, Trump reiterated his reluctance to protect Syria’s borders and invited others to do it.
In a series of tweets, Trump said he had defeated “100%” of Daesh and largely moved U.S. troops out of Syria. Criticizing critics urging action to protect the PKK/YPG terror group at Syria’s northern border, Trump said the U.S. is thousands of miles away and won’t protect the “land of our enemy,” meaning Syria.
“Some people want the United States to protect the 7,000 mile away Border of Syria, presided over by Bashar al-Assad, our enemy,” Trump tweeted amid Turkey’s ongoing military operation in northern Syria against the PKK/YPG terror group to create a safe zone for millions of displaced Syrians abroad.
“I said to my Generals, why should we be fighting for Syria and Assad to protect the land of our enemy?” he said, adding that he couldn’t care less who protects who in Syria.
“Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds [referring to PKK/YPG terrorists] is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!” Trump said.
-‘We’re not going into another war’
Earlier in the day, Trump said on Twitter no one should expect U.S. forces to confront “NATO member Turkey” in northern Syria.
“Do people really think we should go to war with NATO member Turkey?” he asked rhetorically, and added: “Never ending wars will end.”
Trump said the PKK/YPG terror group “may be releasing some [Daesh members] to get us [the U.S.] involved in Syria” amid its withdrawal.
“We are not going into another war between people,” he said, referring to the fight between Turkey and the terror group PKK/YPG.
He also accused European countries, once again, of not living up to their responsibilities with European-origin Daesh terrorists.
Under pressure from U.S. lawmakers, Trump also warned Turkey of “big sanctions” looming ahead.
After speaking on Monday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they had reached a bipartisan understanding in favor of sanctions against Turkey.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.