President Trump tweeted Thursday that he'll sanction Turkey — and "hit [it] very hard financially" — if the country doesn't "play by the rules" in northern Syria.

Turkey has been planning to attack the Kurds for a long time. They have been fighting forever. We have no soldiers or Military anywhere near the attack area. I am trying to end the ENDLESS WARS. Talking to both sides. Some want us to send tens of thousands of soldiers to the area and start a new war all over again. Turkey is a member of NATO. Others say STAY OUT, let the Kurds fight their own battles (even with our financial help). I say hit Turkey very hard financially & with sanctions if they don’t play by the rules! I am watching closely.

Why it matters: While Trump's statement is similar to his threat to "obliterate" Turkey's economy from earlier this week, it's now clear that his red line in the region is not simply the start of a Turkish offensive against the Kurds.

  • However, his vagueness surrounding what might actually prompt action against Turkey is not likely to quell dissent among his fellow Republicans, who have been largely united in decrying his decision to withdraw from northern Syria.

Worth noting: Turkey is a NATO ally, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Trump will meet next month at the White House.

Go deeper: Syria decision exposes Trump to political peril

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