191010 Erdogan
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is seen with Defence Minister Hulusi Akar at the operation center in Ankara, Turkey, October 9, 2019. Image Credit: Reuters

Washington: US President Donald Trump said Wednesday he hoped that his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan would “act rationally” as his military launched a broad assault on Kurdish-controlled areas in northeast Syria.

The intense bombing is expected to pave the way for a ground offensive made possible by Trump’s decision to pull back US troops in the area — a move roundly criticized in Washington, even by some of Trump’s own Republicans.

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“I hope that he will act rationally,” Trump said of Erdogan at the White House. Earlier, Trump said Turkey’s incursion was a “bad idea.”

The US leader added that if the Turkish operation is not conducted “in as humane a way as possible... I’ll wipe out his economy.”

“If he does it unfairly, he is going to pay a big economic price,” Trump warned.