U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said President Donald Trump is "fully prepared" to take military actions against Turkey in Syria if necessary, Business Insider reports.
"We prefer peace to war," Pompeo told CNBC. "But in the event that kinetic action or military action is needed, you should know that President Trump is fully prepared to undertake that action."
This comment came a little over two weeks after Trump's controversial decision to withdraw US troops from northeast Syria, which paved the way for Turkey to invade.
If the US attacked Turkey, it would have major implications for the historic NATO alliance.
NATO's core principle, Article 5, is that an attack on one member is an attack on all. An attack from one NATO member on another would therefore put the alliance in a paradoxical situation.
NATO was originally founded at the start of the Cold War to counter the Soviet Union, and its purpose has evolved over time. But it continues to serve as a deterrent to Russian aggression in Europe, particularly after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Hence, if NATO collapsed or if the alliance was put under major strains then it would be advantageous to the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin.