Donald Trump belatedly changes tone on Syria

The US president signed an executive decree imposing sanctions against several Turkish ministers, in retaliation for Ankara's offensive.

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Donald Trump changed his tone during a new phone conversation with his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP

The United States tried to leave their state of amazement on the Syrian file, Monday, October 14. A week after recognizing Turkey's willingness to attack Washington's Kurdish allies in northeastern Syria, removing US special forces deployed at the border, Donald Trump changed his tone a new telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

According to US Vice President Mike Pence, who will be visiting Ankara shortly with National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, Donald Trump has "Very clearly indicated" that Washington "Hopes that Turkey will put an end to the invasion, implement an immediate cease-fire and begin negotiations with Kurdish forces in Syria to end the violence".

Late firmness, the United States having at first satisfied itself with judging that this offensive was " a bad idea ", while Donald Trump repeated on Twitter, Monday again, his desire to disengage from the region. "Anyone who wants to help Syria to protect the Kurds suits me well, be it Russia, China or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they are all very well, we are 7,000 miles! " wrote the president of the United States casually. He did not hide his desire to focus on another frontier, the one that separates his country from Mexico.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Donald Trump comments on the Turkish offensive in Syria

Mostly symbolic sanctions

"For years, the United States and our Syrian Kurdish partners fought heroically to trap the Islamic State (IS) organization and destroy its caliphate", Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lamented. "Abandoning this fight now and withdrawing US forces from Syria would recreate the conditions" of a jihadist resurgence, he worried.

No doubt to take into account the discontent that his management of the Turkish offensive provoked in the Republican ranks, Donald Trump signed an executive decree imposing mostly symbolic sanctions against the ministers of energy, defense and the interior from Turkey. Their potential assets in the United States are frozen and their international transactions in dollars are blocked.

Read also Donald Trump sanctions Turkey and calls for an end to the "invasion" in Syria

Similarly, taxes on steel produced in Turkey have been restored. Washington has finally frozen negotiations for a trade deal. US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is also due to visit Brussels to invite other NATO members, of which Ankara is a member, "To take collective and individual diplomatic and economic measures in response to these heinous Turkish acts".

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