US president Donald Trump says he “does not endorse” Turkey’s military offensive in Syria, which he made possible in part by pulling American forces from the region.
The comment was made in a statement released by the White House.
He said “Turkey has committed to protecting civilians, protecting religious minorities, including Christians, and ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place—and we will hold them to this commitment. In addition,
He added “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. We expect Turkey to abide by all of its commitments, and we continue to monitor the situation closely.”
The US did not give Turkey a “green light” for its offensive in northern Syria, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said .
Mr Pompeo defended President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from the border area, which has sparked an outcry at home and abroad.
Turkey has now launched an assault on territory held by Kurdish-led forces.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the aim was to “prevent the creation of a terror corridor” on the border.
Turkish forces plan to make a “safe zone” cleared of Kurdish militias which will also house Syrian refugees.
Kurdish-led forces vowed to resist the offensive and have already clashed with Turkish troops.
The Kurds – who helped defeat the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and were key US allies in that fight – guard thousands of IS fighters and their relatives in prisons and camps in areas under their control. It is unclear whether they will continue to do so if battles break out.