US President Donald Trump warned Monday that Turkey faces imminent sanctions over its incursion into northeastern Syria against Kurdish militia, but also signalled Washington would avoid armed conflict with Ankara.
"Big sanctions on Turkey coming!" Trump said, after Turkish attacks stepped up over the weekend on the Syrian Kurds, who had allied with the US war against the Islamic State group.
But Trump also suggested the Kurds were trying to draw the United States into a broader, alleging they were deliberately freeing some Islamic State prisoners "to get us involved" in the conflict.
"Do people really think we should go to war with NATO Member Turkey?" Trump said, ruing "never ending wars."
"The same people who got us into the Middle East mess are the people who most want to stay there!"
Trump over the weekend ordered around 1,000 US troops in northern Syria pulled back from the border region to avoid getting caught in the fighting.
"We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies and it's a very untenable situation," Defense Secretary Mark Esper told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.