(AFP) – US President Donald Trump said 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.
France’s foreign minister on Wednesday condemned Turkey’s assault on Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria, saying the offensive “must stop”.
“It calls into question the security and humanitarian efforts of the coalition against Daesh and risks undermining Europeans’ security,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a tweet, using the Arabic name for the Islamic State (IS) group.