Turkey launched a military assault against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in Syria on Wednesday after President Trump cleared the way by pulling American troops out of the region — a move that prompted bipartisan outrage on Capitol Hill.
But, as Turkish ground troops began invading the Kurdish-controlled territories Wednesday afternoon after a volley of airstrikes, Trump sent mixed signals and threatened to impose "far more than sanctions" on Turkey if it doesn't handle the volatile situation in a "humane way."
"I've already told that to President Erdogan: far more than sanctions. I'll do far more than sanctions," Trump said during an unrelated event at the White House, referring to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "I will tell you that I do agree on sanctions, but I think much tougher, if he does not do it in a humane way."
The president did not explain what "far more than sanctions" meant or what a "humane" Turkish invasion of Syria would look like. "We're going to have to define that as we go along," he said.