The Turkish president has promised to help the United States if President Donald J. Trump takes a military action against Syria, becoming a first regional country to get on board for a possible strike on forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
“I thank him, but it should not remain unfulfilled,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a Turkish TV channel on Thursday when asked about news reports that Mr. Trump is considering a military action.
Mr. Erdogan, who for years craved for an international intervention to create a safe zone for civilians in Syria, weighed in the latest remarks from the U.S. administration, and pledged Turkish support if the U.S. translates its vow into action.
After a chemical attack that killed nearly 100 civilians, including children, in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib on Tuesday, Mr. Trump signaled a greater American military role to protect civilians in Syria, a country consumed by vicious civil war for more than 6 years.
The U.S. has not excluded a military response to a poison attack which Washington blamed on the Syrian government; a senior administration official told Reuters.
When asked whether the military option was taken off the table, the official said No.
In his first comment on the heinous attack that rattled the world and exposed the inability of the international community to arrest the downward spiral of violence targeting civilians, Mr. Trump offered a muted response, condemning the attack as intolerable, but stopped short of providing a clear response to Damascus.
Mr. Erdogan said he talked to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, about the chemical attack and expressed his disappointment that the Russian president is still undecided. “I talked to Mr. Putin, but Mr. Putin is still undecided if Assad is behind this attack or not. If he does not understand this for 2 or 3 days, this is saddening for us,” Mr. Erdogan said.
Back in 2013, President Erdogan was angered when former President Barack Obama walked back from his promise to strike Assad targets in Syria following a similar chemical attack. Syria promised to ship its all stock of chemical weapons overseas in exchange for peace.
Mr. Erdogan invited all coalition forces, particularly the U.S., to come together and put an end to the violence in Syria.
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