Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip ErdoganReuters

The United States will take penalizing action against Turkey if it engages in any “inhumane and disproportionate” moves against civilians during its incursion into northeastern Syria, a senior State Department official said on Thursday, as quoted by Reuters.

“That would include ethnic cleansing, it would include in particular indiscriminate artillery air and other fires directed at civilian population. That’s what we’re looking at right now,” the official was quoted as having said.

At the same time, the official stressed, “We haven’t seen significant examples of that so far.”

Meanwhile on Thursday, US President Donald Trump said he hopes he can mediate between Turkey and the Kurds following Turkey’s offensive on US-allied Kurds in northeast Syria.

“We defeated 100% of the ISIS Caliphate and no longer have any troops in the area under attack by Turkey, in Syria. We did our job perfectly! Now Turkey is attacking the Kurds, who have been fighting each other for 200 years,” he tweeted.

“We have one of three choices: Send in thousands of troops and win Militarily, hit Turkey very hard Financially and with Sanctions, or mediate a deal between Turkey and the Kurds!” he added.

“I hope we can mediate,” Trump said when asked about the options by reporters at the White House. “Turkey knows where I stand.”

“We are going to possibly do something very very tough with respect to sanctions and other financial things,” Trump added, without elaborating.

Turkey launched the military operation on Wednesday in an attempt to push out Kurdish militias. The operation began three days after Trump’s announcement on Sunday of a withdrawal of US forces in northeastern Syria, with some arguing the move was an authorization for Turkey to invade the region.

While Trump on Monday defended his administration’s plans to withdraw US forces from northern Syria, he also made clear that the US would not allow Turkey to do anything inhumane in Syria.