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US House GOP to Introduce Sanctions Against Turkey in Response to Military Invasion of Syria

© AP Photo / J. Scott ApplewhiteThe US Capitol building is mirrored in the Reflecting Pool in Washington DC Dec. 28, 2018.
The US Capitol building is mirrored in the Reflecting Pool in Washington DC Dec. 28, 2018. - Sputnik International
US Senators Lindsey Graham and Chris Van Hollen earlier proposed a new bipartisan bill calling for a broad range of sanctions against Turkey, including against high-level officials such as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in response to Ankara's military incursion inside northern Syria.

On Thursday, dozens of GOP lawmakers in the US House of Representatives announced that they would also introduce legislation to impose sanctions against Turkey.

"President {Recep Tayyip} Erdogan and his regime must face serious consequences for mercilessly attacking our Kurdish allies in northern Syria", chairwoman of the House Republican Conference and Republican Representative Liz Cheney said in a statement on Friday.

Earlier in the day, US President Donald Trump told reporters that Washington will likely "do something very tough" with regard to imposing sanctions against Turkey.

In a separate Thursday statement, Trump proposed three methods of ending the new war in northern Syria. One of the options was a "deal between Turkey and the Kurds". On Monday, Trump tweeted that he would "obliterate" Turkey' s economy in the event that he found Ankara's actions in Syria unacceptable.

A senior State Department official told reporters that Washington would introduce sanctions against Turkey if Ankara carries out ethnic cleansing or indiscriminately uses artillery.

Ankara's military invasion of Syria, dubbed 'Operation Peace Spring', was launched on Wednesday and according to government statements is aimed at creating a 'safe zone' near the Syrian-Turkish border.

The territory on the Syrian side of the border is currently controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which Ankara believes are affiliated with the PKK, similar to the People's Protection Units (PKK-YPG).

The Turkish military said on Thursday that it has to date struck 181 Kurdish targets in the course of its ongoing invasion and has killed at least 228 PKK-YPG fighters.

Local media have reported civilian casualties inflicted by Turkish weapons.

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