ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies have launched their military operation into northeastern Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, adding that the offensive aimed to eliminate a “terror corridor” along the southern Turkish border.
Erdogan said the offensive, dubbed “Operation Peace Spring”, would aim to eliminate threats from the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and the Islamic State militants, and enable the return of Syrian refugees in Turkey after the formation of a “safe zone” in the area.
Days ago, President Trump tweeted:
As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over...
....the captured ISIS fighters and families. The U.S. has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory. THE USA IS GREAT!
We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters. Likewise our relationship with Turkey, a NATO and Trading partner, has been very good. Turkey already has a large Kurdish population and fully....
....understands that while we only had 50 soldiers remaining in that section of Syria, and they have been removed, any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency. We are helping the Kurds financially/weapons!
Has President Trump made any public statements on Turkey's offensive into Syria since it has begun? I know it seems very recent, but many others have made statements already:
I urge President Trump to change course while there is still time by going back to the safe zone concept that was working.
The German Foreign Office tweeted:
Foreign Minister @HeikoMaas: We strongly condemn Turkish offensive in Northeast #Syria. Turkey risks further destabilization of the region & #ISIS resurgence. We call on #Turkey to end the offensive & pursue its security interests peacefully.
Given that bombs have a real impact very quickly, it seems time is of the essence. Given Trump's previous statements warning Turkey, I am wondering if President Trump has (already) made statements on this (either himself or through his representatives or officials) or reacted in another way to the offensive. What is the first official reaction from the president or his administration?
A US official familiar with operations in Syria confirmed that Turkey conducted strikes in Tal Abyad in northern Syria and the border town of Ras al-Ayn.
In this question, I am looking for a reaction that goes beyond confirming the offensive is indeed taking place.