US House passes bill for sanctions on Turkey over Syria offensive

The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a bill threatening fresh sanctions on Turkey to punish it for its offensive into north-east Syria, signalling continuing unhappiness with Ankara on Capitol Hill.

The bill, which threatens to freeze the assets of senior Turkish officials and ban arms transfers to Turkey, as well as threatening large Turkish banks with penalties, passed with 403 votes to 16.

The strong bipartisan support for the bill comes shortly after the Trump administration lifted a separate package of sanctions to reward Turkey for holding to a ceasefire agreement following its attacks on US-allied Kurdish fighters in Syria.

That agreement, brokered by Mike Pence, US vice-president, saw Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces promising to withdraw from an agreed 32km safe zone area near the Turkish border in exchange for a pause in the Turkish attack.

Turkey and Russia separately reached a deal to push the Kurdish forces away from the border and conduct joint patrols in the area, from which US troops have withdrawn.

Source: VOV5