After appearing to give Turkey a free hand in Syria, the United States raised its tone on Friday and said on Friday that they were ready to activate sanctions against Ankara, which continues its offensive against the Kurds.
Sanctions The economy developed by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a White House press conference was approved by Donald Trump. A decision by the US president to activate them is enough.
However, the red line that Turkey may not cross has not been clearly defined by Washington. But US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said he "strongly encouraged" his Turkish counterpart to stop the military operation in northern Syria.
The tone contrasts with the beginning of the week. On Sunday night, Donald Trump had created a surprise and a riot when the White House, to everyone's surprise, announced the withdrawal of US troops from the borders to the Turkish-Syrian border. A decision that is largely seen as an actual green light for Turkey to attack Kurds in this area.
Among American allies, as well as within his own party, Donald Trump was accused of "giving up" the Kurds, but still necessary in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) organization.
The Ankara-directed People's Protection Units (YPG) militia led the fighting with the support of an international coalition, which weakened the jihadist group and the closure of its "caliphate" territorially.
Republican parliamentarians in a virulent way condemned Donald Trump's position. Senator Lindsey Graham, who is close to the US president, pointed to a "disastrous" US decision and warned Turkey that it would pay "very high" for its offensive and promised congressional sanctions.
Since then, his American boss blows hot and cold. The Republican billionaire reiterates that Americans must be disengaged from the Middle East war, while threatening Turkey with an "economic annihilation."
It is in this register that the Trump administration is expressed on Friday. Donald Trump will sign a decree allowing sanctions at any time aimed at "deterring Turkey from any extension of its military offensive in northeastern Syria," the US Treasury Department said in a statement, without specifying whether that extension should understood geographically or temporally.
"These are very strong sanctions, we hope we will not have to use them but we can neutralize the Turkish economy if needed," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned before the press
– Foreign Jihadists –
The Americans insist also on the situation of ISIS jihadists held by Kurdish militias in Syria. For Donald Trump, it is "absolutely necessary" that Turkey not allow "not a fighter for the Islamic State group to flee," the Treasury said on Friday.
Kurdish forces have claimed that five Jihadists EI fled from a prison near the city of Qamichli in northeastern Syria following Turkish air strikes against the surrounding area.
The issue of foreign jihadists being detained in Syria is particularly sensitive to the European countries but also to the United States, which fears a major escape in favor of the Turkish intervention. The Americans announced on Wednesday that they had taken responsibility for two particularly dangerous British jihadists. But according to US media, dozens of detained IS fighters have now been taken under US control.
Americans are tightening the press on Turkey as contacts with NATO allies show uncertain determination by Ankara to carry out this military operation.
"I have no sign that they want to stop" their operation, said Friday to the press Mark Esper. We do not see any "precursor to any stop to their military intervention", has overflowed the chief of staff of the US Army Mark Milley.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself said Friday that he would not stop his offensive against the Kurdish forces, despite the "threats".