Donald Trump continues to sink to new lows while trying to defend his decision to pull US troops out of northern Syria, effectively greenlighting the deadly Turkish assault upon former US allies.

In the past fortnight alone, the US president has brushed off the problem of Isis fighters escaping to Europe, who he accused the Kurds of deliberately freeing and watched as his inane, disturbing letter to Turkish president Erdogan was leaked and internationally panned.

Now, after agreeing a five-day ceasefire with Turkey and its bloody creation of a “safe zone” in Syria, Mr Trump has been accused of using the language of ethnic cleansing, after telling reporters that north Syria needed “cleaned out”.

Referring to the conflict that has so far displaced at least 300,000 people and claimed the lives of at least 218 civilians, he said:

On behalf of the United States, I want to thank Turkey, I want to thank all of the people that have gotten together and made this happen. This is an incredible outcome.

So you have a 22-mile strip, that for many, many years, Turkey, in all fairness, they’ve had a legitimate problem with it, they had terrorists, they had a lot of people in their that they couldn’t have. 

They’ve suffered a lot of loss of lives also, and they had to have it cleaned out. But once you start that it gets to be to a point where a tremendous amount of bad things can happen.

Turkey has been accused of war crimes by Human Rights Watch after an airstrike on a refuge housing those displaced by the conflict killed at least 20 civilians. Turkey has denied claims it was targeting civilians.

People were shocked by Trump's words, which at this point really says a lot.

It's far from the first time the US president has been accused of using racist or dehumanising language.

Winning office on a campaign in which he described Mexicans as "rapists", "drug dealers" and "criminals", he was widely criticised for calling the late Elijah Cummings' majority-black Baltimore district as a "disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess".

Just before he passed away on Wednesday aged 68, Mr Cummings was signing subpoenas from his hospital bed in the impeachment investigation, his aides told the New York Times.

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