Trump adviser heads to Turkey ahead of Pence to urge cease-fire

Trump adviser heads to Turkey ahead of Pence to urge cease-fire
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National security adviser Robert O'Brien flew to Turkey on Wednesday to meet with Turkish officials in hopes of convincing the country to call off its military offensive against the Kurds in Syria, Reuters reports.

O'Brien's trip highlights the urgency of the situation with the Trump adviser arriving a day before Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial Parnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process MORE who are set to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday.

O'Brien will meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

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The administration is scrambling to contain the fallout after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE decided to remove the remaining U.S. troops from Syria's northeastern border region, leading to Turkey's military operation against Kurds who fought with the U.S. against ISIS.

Lawmakers from both parties have blasted Trump's decision and the fallout for the Kurds.

Turkey views the Kurdish forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as a terrorist group. Erdoğan is pushing to drive the SDF from the northern region of Syria to create a 20 mile "safe zone."

Congress is working on a deal for sanctions to punish Ankara for the offensive and on Tuesday, Trump unveiled his own economic sanctions on Turkey.

On Tuesday, U.S. prosecutors charged Turkish majority state-owned Halkbank for taking part in a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade Iran sanctions.

According to Reuters, Erdoğan told reporters Tuesday, “They say ‘declare a cease-fire.’ We will never declare a cease-fire."

“They are pressuring us to stop the operation," Erdoğan added. "They are announcing sanctions. Our goal is clear. We are not worried about any sanctions."