NEW YORK, October 12. /TASS/. The US authorities are using economic and diplomatic tools to convince Turkey to stop the military operation in Syria, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in an interview with The Tennessean newspaper. The interview was published on the official website of the US Department of State on Friday.
"Today, even as I sit here, our team, State Department teams are on the ground working to convince President Erdogan, Turkey, that the invasion is not appropriate," Pompeo said. "We're working to convince them that moving into Syria this way, putting at risk the lives of the Kurdish people and others in the region as well — Christians and other ethnic minorities and religious minorities — that it's a bad idea," he added.
"We're using every economic and diplomatic tool to convince them to cease activity," he noted.
When asked why exactly the United States withdrew forces from Syria, Pompeo said: "Turkey made it. Turkey sent large forces across the border into Syria." "On Sunday night, it was clear [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan is going to move in. We had a handful, less than 60 people in that space. They were in no position to remain there and keep them safe. President Trump made the decision to bring them 20 or 30 kilometers back out of that space," he explained.
"We have worked with the Kurds, the United States has worked with the Kurds not just in Syria, but all across the Middle East, for an awfully long time," Pompeo said. "They've been good partners of ours in each of those places, and I am very confident this administration will continue to support these people who have been good friends of the United States of America," he added.
"The Kurdish people here and the leadership in Turkey should understand that we don't think what President Erdogan did was right. It's not proper, and he needs to stop," he noted.
On October 7, US President Donald Trump announced that Washington started to withdraw forces from northeastern Syria.
On October 9, Ankara announced the launch of Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria, which began with airstrikes on Kurdish positions. The operation’s goal is to create a buffer zone along the Turkish border, where, according to Ankara, Syrian refugees residing in Turkey could return. Syria's SANA news agency slammed the operation as an act of aggression. The international community condemned Ankara’s actions.