Administration

Pompeo to join Pence on Turkey visit urging ceasefire

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will join Vice President Pence on a trip to Turkey this week in an attempt to broker a cease-fire in northern Syria.

Pence will lead a delegation on behalf of President Trump that includes Pompeo and national security adviser Robert O’Brien, the vice president’s office announced Tuesday.

{mosads}Pence will meet Thursday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a bilateral meeting as the two sides seek to broker a deal to end the bloodshed that was sparked after Trump announced he was pulling U.S. troops out of the region.

The delegation will depart on Wednesday. It’s unclear when they will return.

The vice president has become the leading voice on the push for a cease-fire in the region as Trump remains committed to pulling troops out of Syria and has called on other countries to fill the void left by the U.S.

“We’re having very strong talks with a lot of people,” Trump said at a White House ceremony on Tuesday afternoon to honor the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. “We want to bring our soldiers back home after so many years. They’re the greatest warriors in the world. They’re policing. They’re not a police force.”

“We’re being very tough on Turkey and a lot of others,” he added. “They have to maintain their own properties now. They have to maintain peace and safety.”

Pence told reporters on Monday that Trump urged Erdoğan to halt a Turkish invasion into northern Syria and begin negotiations with Kurdish forces in the region.

Efforts to broker a cease-fire, paired with sanctions on Ankara announced Monday, mark a shift in strategy for the White House amid fierce bipartisan backlash over Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troop out of northern Syria.

The change in strategy has had a ripple effect in the roughly 10 days since it was announced.

Within days, Turkey had launched an offensive into the region. The Turks targeted Kurdish forces, which have served as a key ally to the U.S. in the years-long fight against ISIS in the region.

In an effort to turn back the Turkish offensive, the Kurds struck a deal to join Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces. The two had previously been on opposing sides of a bloody civil war, and Assad is backed by Russia.

Tags Donald Trump ISIS Kurdish forces Mike Pompeo Syria Turkey
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