President Donald Trump is “fully prepared” to take military action against Turkey if necessary, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, opening the possibility of U.S. military intervention in a conflict effectively greenlighted by Trump himself earlier this month.
In an interview with CNBC’s Wilfred Frost, Pompeo said the Trump administration holds military force as an option in northern Syria, where the Turkish military continues to clash with Kurdish forces over control of the region. Pompeo stopped short of describing where the president would draw the line before military action is taken.
“We prefer peace to war,” he said on Monday. “But in the event that kinetic action or military action is needed, you should know that President Trump is fully prepared to undertake that action.”
However, Pompeo said he did not want to “get out in front of the president’s decision about whether to take the awesome undertaking of using America’s military might.”
Trump told reporters on Monday that the United States is under no obligation to protect the Kurds in Syria, saying the U.S. “never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives.”
“We’re not going to take a position. Let them fight themselves,” he added.