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Trump suggests US could mediate 'deal' between Turks and Kurds
[WASHINGTON] US President Donald Trump suggested on Thursday that Washington could mediate between Turkey and Kurdish groups after Ankara launched a military offensive against Kurds who until recently were backed by the United States.
"We have one of three choices: Send in thousands of troops and win. Militarily, hit Turkey very hard Financially and with Sanctions, or mediate a deal between Turkey and the Kurds!" Mr Trump tweeted.
"I hope it's going to be the last one," he told reporters later.
This added third option was the latest twist in the president's changing stance regarding the fate of Kurdish militias that until recently were fighting alongside US troops in Syria.
Mr Trump has ordered US troops to withdraw from key positions along Syria's northern border, saying he does not want to stand in the way of a Turkish offensive against what Ankara considers to be a threat from the Kurds.
After coming under fierce criticism from his own party, Mr Trump then said he intended to limit Turkey's offensive with the threat of economic sanctions.
However it is unclear what the limits for him would be other than that he wants the offensive deep into Syrian territory to be "humane."
"I hope that he will act rationally," Mr Trump said Wednesday of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. Earlier, Mr Trump said Turkey's incursion was a "bad idea."
Despite that, Mr Trump has repeatedly explained that Turkey, a Nato ally, long wanted to attack the Kurds and that the US has only a limited sense of duty to its former battlefield allies in Syria.
"They didn't help us in the Second World War, they didn't help us with Normandy," he said on Wednesday.
"Turkey knows where I stand," he said Thursday.
Despite suggesting mediation, Mr Trump further muddied the waters by saying: "Let's see what happens. We are possibly going to do something very, very tough with respect to sanctions."