Defense Secretary and 2019 Wash100 Award winner Mark EsperÂ said the U.S. government is âpreparing to evacuateâ approximately 1K U.S. service personnel from northern Syria amid Turkeyâs impending offensive against the Syrian Democratic Forces, CBS News reported Sunday. SDF served as the U.S. allies as part of the campaign against the Islamic State militant organization.
“In the last 24 hours, we learned that [the Turks] likely intend to extend their attack further south than originally planned, and to the west,” Esper said. “We also have learned in the last 24 hours that the … SDF are looking to cut a deal, if you will, with the Syrians and the Russians to counterattack against the Turks in the north.”
Esper told the networkâs Face the Nation program that President Donald Trump ordered a âdeliberate withdrawal of forcesâ from the region citing the security of U.S. troops caught between SDF and Turkish forces in Syria.
Trump said MondayÂ that he will issue an executive order that would impose sanctions against Turkeyâs government officials and other personnel involved in destabilizing activities in northeast Syria. The president said the U.S. government will cease negotiations on a $100 billionÂ trade deal with Turkey and increase the steel tariffs by up to 50 percent.
He noted that the EO will authorize additional sanctions on individuals involved in human rights abuses, ceasefire obstruction, forced repatriation of refugees and security threats in Syria. âThe order will authorize a broad range of consequences, including financial sanctions, the blocking of property, and barring entry into the United States,â Trump added.