Trump: We don’t want Turkey killing a lot of people in Syria

US President Donald Trump speaks to the media in the Oval Office. (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump says that Washington does not want Turkey killing a lot of people in Syria and his administration will use sanctions if it has to.

The US ramped up efforts on Friday to persuade Turkey to halt an escalating offensive in northern Syria against U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, saying Ankara was causing “great harm” to ties and could face potentially devastating sanctions.

Trump’s decision to pull back troops from Syria’s border with Turkey has been widely criticized in Washington as a tacit “green light” for a Turkish incursion that experts say could cause a humanitarian catastrophe.

Since it began on Tuesday, the Turkish incursion has opened a new front in the eight-year Syrian civil war and drawn international criticism. A war monitor gave a death toll of more than 100 so far and the United Nations said 100,000 people had fled their homes.

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