US Talking to Turkey, Kurds, Says ‘Red Line’ Not Breached

Trump says possible sanctions could be imposed on Turkey

As fighting in northeastern Syria continues to scale up after Wednesday’s Turkish invasion, a big looming question on the region is what, if anything, the Trump Administration is going to do about it.

US officials have made clear they did not give Turkey a “green light” to invade. At the same time, they say what Turkey has done does not cross President Trump’s “red line,” though they continue to threaten Turkey with consequences.

Where Trump’s “red line” on the matter is remains totally unclear from a public perspective, with Trump only defining it as anything outside his “own great and unmatched wisdom.” Even Trump appeared unclear where exactly he stands right now, saying it is “possible” that he’ll impose economic sanctions on Turkey, but that it is too early to say anything yet.

On the other hand, Trump seems very interested in defending a position of not doing anything, arguing the Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for 200 years and that the US isn’t interested in getting involved militarily. He has noted that the few US troops in the area being contested have long since withdrawn.

Trump also says the US is talking to “both sides” and trying to find a way to mediate the conflict. That appears unlikely at this point, with fighting already started, Turkish officials eager to go after the Kurdish YPG after years of threatening them, and the YPG accusing the US of “betrayal” for not remaining involved in the conflict.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.