US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he hoped that his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan would “act rationally” as his military launched a broad assault on Kurdish-controlled areas in northeast Syria.
The intense bombing is expected to pave the way for a ground offensive made possible by Trump’s decision to pull back US troops in the area - a move roundly criticized in Washington, even by some of Trump’s own Republicans.
“I hope that he will act rationally,” Trump said of Erdogan at the White House. Earlier, Trump said Turkey’s incursion was a “bad idea.”
The US leader added that if the Turkish operation is not conducted “in as humane a way as possible... I’ll wipe out his economy.”
“If he does it unfairly, he is going to pay a big economic price,” Trump warned.
Attack on Syria is ‘a bad idea’
Earlier on Wednesday, President Trump warned Turkey against attacking Syria, saying its assault was “a bad idea” not backed by the United States, and called on Ankara to protect religious minorities.
“The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House.
“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.”