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Scrambling to limit damage, Trump tells Turkey to stop its Syria invasion

WorldOct 14, 2019 08:28PM ET
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© Reuters. A woman gestures as a Syrian army soldier stands on a back of a truck in the town of Tel Tamer in northeast Syria

By Steve Holland and Humeyra Pamuk

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday demanded Turkey stop its military incursion in Syria and imposed new sanctions on the NATO ally as Trump scrambled to limit the damage from his much-criticized decision to clear U.S. troops from Turkey's path.

Vice President Mike Pence said Trump had told Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call on Monday to agree to an immediate ceasefire. He also said he would travel to the region soon to try to mediate the crisis.

Pence said Trump had been firm with Erdogan on the phone.

"The United States of America simply is not going to tolerate Turkey's invasion in Syria any further. We are calling on Turkey to stand down, end the violence and come to the negotiating table," Pence told reporters.

Turkey launched a cross-border operation into northern Syria on Wednesday just days after Erdogan told Trump in a phone call that he planned to move ahead with a long-planned move against America's Kurdish allies in the region.

Trump abruptly announced a redeployment of 50 American troops from the conflict zone to get them out of harm's way, dismissing criticism that this would leave the Kurds open to attack. This was widely seen as giving Erdogan a green light for his operation.

With lawmakers in the U.S. Congress moving to impose sanctions of their own, Trump issued an executive order authorizing sanctions against current and former officials of the Turkish government for contributing to Turkey's military operation in northern Syria.

In a statement, Trump said he had increased tariffs on imports of Turkish steel back up to 50 percent, six months after they were reduced, and would immediately stop negotiations on what he called a $100 billion trade deal with Turkey.

"Unfortunately, Turkey does not appear to be mitigating the humanitarian effects of its invasion," said Trump.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States had imposed sanctions on Turkey's ministers of defense, interior and energy, as well as their departments.

The scenes of carnage from Turkey's assault have exposed Trump to harsh criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike for abandoning the Kurdish allies who were instrumental in the U.S. battle against Islamic State militants in Syria.

As Congress has vowed to act if he will not, Trump said Turkey's action is precipitating a humanitarian crisis and "setting conditions for possible war crimes" but he made clear he had no plans to reverse his decision to withdraw.

"As I have said, I am withdrawing the remaining United States service members from northeast Syria," said Trump.

U.S. troops coming out of Syria will stay in the region to monitor ISIS and a small footprint will remain at the Tanf base in southern Syria, he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican allied with Trump, expressed his displeasure with the president's decision in a statement.

"Abandoning this fight now and withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria would recreate the very conditions that we have worked hard to destroy and invite the resurgence of ISIS," he said.

A statement from Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic senators Robert Menendez and Jack Reed said the only person who is able to "immediately stop this tragedy unfolding is the president himself."

"The first step when Congress returns to session this week is for Republicans to join with us in passing a resolution making clear that both parties are demanding the president’s decision be reversed," they said.

Trump said his executive order would enable the United States to impose sanctions on those current or former Turkish officials who may be involved in human rights abuses. He said it will authorize sanctions such as blocking of property and barring entry into the United States.

Turkey's lira, which had weakened some 0.8% in the day, reacted minimally to Trump's announcement. It stood at 5.9300 at 2018 GMT, from 5.9260 beforehand.

Scrambling to limit damage, Trump tells Turkey to stop its Syria invasion
 

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Joe Higgenbaucher
Joe Higgenbaucher Oct 15, 2019 4:46PM ET
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It’s way past due to leave nato and the UN. Close down all overseas and commit to isolationism once and for all. The world hates us regardless of what we do, better to follow the constitution and save American Blood and treasure. The Turkish people have us. And liberals would have us go to war with nuclear armed Russia. . No sense in America being involved in the S hole called the ME.
Barani Krishnan
Barani Krishnan Oct 15, 2019 8:13AM ET
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The correlation between political survival and flip-flops is amazing.
Юрий Шабалин
Юрий Шабалин Oct 15, 2019 2:50AM ET
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Maybe worse for those American politicians who eager for world ******* but definitely better for the rest of the world, including US people, too.
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Oct 15, 2019 2:46AM ET
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"Trump abruptly announced a redeployment of 50 American troops from the conflict zone to get them out of harm's way, dismissing criticism that this would leave the Kurds open to attack. This was widely seen as giving Erdogan a green light for his operation." --- Only 50 troops? That's 50 soldiers! Isn't it? -- How can 50 soldiers hold off a mad Er-dog-an or 'giving him the green light'? -- I bet the action was more like Er-dog-an to Trump: "Trump!, better get your 50 guys out of there before they get hurt! End of story!"  -- But, Trump should have put more troops into the area and he should have finalized that SAFE ZONE that Er-dog-an and Trump had agreed, in the summer of 2019, to establish, in order to organize an efficient section of the border that would have been acceptable to the Turks. === Now, what a mess Trump made out of this. The mess is far bigger than before and it played the area into the hands of Russia .. Looks increasingly worse for the West.
Marco Somo
Marco Somo Oct 14, 2019 11:58PM ET
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Did Trump obeyed Putin demands to leave Syria under Russian control?
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Oct 14, 2019 11:58PM ET
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probably! Trump, Putin, Xi, Kim, below the surface they are comrades. Trump licks Putin's hands.
Joe Higgenbaucher
Joe Higgenbaucher Oct 14, 2019 11:58PM ET
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Did you delete your account after posting this hilarious comment?
James Heller
James Heller Oct 14, 2019 10:14PM ET
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I am as certain as all here that the crippling attack on Turkey's economy will raise all those slaughtered, thus far, from the dead Trump gave the green light here for Turkey to ***those who fought both with and for us against ISIS. This is not "us getting involved" where we had not been.  Our mere presence stopped hostilities. After another "perfect phone call", this time with the Turkish PM, he picked up the phone and pulled the trigger on every Kurd.
Rick Back
Rick Back Oct 14, 2019 6:35PM ET
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We need Adam Schiff And CNN to explain this To Congress and the American people
CrackHead Bob
CrackHead Bob Oct 14, 2019 6:17PM ET
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Funny How the country demands we stay out of foreign wars and when the president acts from the voice of the people and we see the effects we seem to flip and blame him. Maybe we should look closer at our own conflicted views and look for the grey in all of this. I am not happy seeing what's happening, but I didn't like is being in Iraq, and Afganistan either. there has to be a way to find peace with acceptance. Blaming the president regardless of who it is is a cowardly opinion of people not willing to look at themself and extreme view. IMO
Andrew Hook
Andrew Hook Oct 14, 2019 6:17PM ET
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OK so let saudians managed their sheet, don't intervene in Venezuela, don't tell to Germany they are to depending on Russian gas, finally don't p the world off thinking you are a Democratic model and leading the world for you own interest.
Wai Chong
Wai Chong Oct 14, 2019 6:17PM ET
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This is an American war. 9/11...you conveniently forgot...
James Heller
James Heller Oct 14, 2019 6:17PM ET
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There is a difference of course.  Being a loyal trumpite must twist the situation. I believe many Americans would find abandoning those who have shed blood both with and for us in the face of over whelming force objectionable. Certainly when the attack could have been stopped with a word from Mr Tough Guy.  You are aware he gave the green light, correct? Now he and his will arrange sanctions and tariffs, which as we all know will bring all those slaughtered, thus far, back to life.
Toyang Siahaan
Toyang Siahaan Oct 14, 2019 5:29PM ET
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welcome to fundamental ..stilll waiting n see
Steven Dicker
Steven Dicker Oct 14, 2019 5:23PM ET
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And while he's waiting...people are dying & villages & hospitals are being destroyed.
Marius Thebault
Marius Thebault Oct 14, 2019 5:07PM ET
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they are not a member of the EU
Fitz Patrick
Fitz Patrick Oct 14, 2019 5:04PM ET
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a fake ally, a fake Nato member. Turkey has been long acting for its own interest.
Юрий Шабалин
Юрий Шабалин Oct 14, 2019 5:04PM ET
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Yes, and it is right to do it. Not invading Syria, I mean. But why countries should deny their interests for the sake of US?
Alvin Tostig
Alvin Tostig Oct 14, 2019 5:00PM ET
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I pledge to buy no turkeys for Thanksgiving. MAGA
Tyler Vargas
Tyler Vargas Oct 14, 2019 4:55PM ET
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you realize they are the main partners in the Middle East and are members of the European Union? cuz they bridge that gap dude
Lara Kiri
Lara Kiri Oct 14, 2019 4:55PM ET
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Turkey is not in EU.
Armand Hz
Armand Hz Oct 14, 2019 4:52PM ET
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I think he is loosing it.... china being difficult and now Turkey. it doesn't sound good at all
browser Web
browser Web Oct 14, 2019 4:46PM ET
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Really? sanctions on an alley will only push it to join Russia and harm further US interests in the region.
Moti Mizrahi
Moti Mizrahi Oct 14, 2019 4:46PM ET
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You call turkey an ally? You need to check yourself, this ar-dog-an is a disgrace.
Ivan Lulov
Ivan Lulov Oct 14, 2019 4:46PM ET
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Yes, this is absolutely correct, but unfortunately it will further worsen the political tension in the region.
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Oct 14, 2019 4:46PM ET
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Moti Mizrahi -- Er-dog-an
Talente Gadaffi
Talente Gadaffi Oct 14, 2019 4:45PM ET
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why up?
ugo fortezze
ugo fortezze Oct 14, 2019 4:45PM ET
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Thanks God, Turkey isn't yet part of the European Community, and I hope it will never be!
Lara Kiri
Lara Kiri Oct 14, 2019 4:45PM ET
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God has nothing to do with that.
Corey DeLaplain
SniperSam Oct 14, 2019 4:43PM ET
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Lots of leftist comments below who still are unable to accept the loss of Killary Clinton or understand the destructive globalist narrative that tyrannical in nature. Thank God DJ Trump came along to expose it all and much more!
Sal Galeano
Sal Galeano Oct 14, 2019 4:43PM ET
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Removing troops from Syria and moving them to Saudis Arabia real anti globalist.
Sam Surya
Sam Surya Oct 14, 2019 4:41PM ET
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are we in recession?
Don Getty
Don Getty Oct 14, 2019 4:36PM ET
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would someone explain to the child that Turkey is part of the european union and as such his threats are minimal beyond US consumption and not sure how much trade turkey actually has with the US - so the little dictator is spinning his wheels like usual
Roland Hrubaru
Roland Hrubaru Oct 14, 2019 4:36PM ET
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he is totally out of his mind
Ivan Lulov
Ivan Lulov Oct 14, 2019 4:36PM ET
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Turkey is not part of the EU.
Tyler Vargas
Tyler Vargas Oct 14, 2019 4:36PM ET
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you realize they are the main partners in the Middle East and are members of the European Union? cuz they bridge that gap dude
john arryn
john arryn Oct 14, 2019 4:31PM ET
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well we will se mr.albayrak's reaction against that. -from this narrow perspective it's not hard to say sell* $turkish lira..
Aaron Last Name
Aaron Last Name Oct 14, 2019 4:29PM ET
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USA setting itself up to be the most isolated country on the planet. Even Canada don't want to be bother with us
Noah Wright
Noah Wright Oct 14, 2019 4:29PM ET
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wouldn't be so bad for us to keep to our selves and figure out hot to be self sufficient again
Tyler Vargas
Tyler Vargas Oct 14, 2019 4:29PM ET
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I'm upset, pay more taxes!!!
Al Vlaj
alvlaj Oct 14, 2019 4:29PM ET
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Noah Wrightthat’s what the Smoot-Hawley Act tried to do. Caused the Great Depression. So, yeah, i think it would be so bad...
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Oct 14, 2019 4:29PM ET
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alvlaj --The Tariff Act of 1930 (codified as 19 U.S.C. ch. 4), commonly known as the Smoot–Hawley Tariff or Hawley–Smoot Tariff, was a law that implemented protectionist trade policies in the United States.
Amit Kumar
Amit Kumar Oct 14, 2019 4:26PM ET
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Is it affect usd/try currency up or down
waqas iftikhar
waqas iftikhar Oct 14, 2019 4:26PM ET
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yes, pair shall go up
Pavel Bláha
Pavel Bláha Oct 14, 2019 4:26PM ET
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Finally
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