US President Donald Trump on Monday urged his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “stop the invasion” of Syria, Vice President Mike Pence said.
Trump pressed the Turkish leader in a telephone call to “stop the invasion, to enact an immediate ceasefire and to begin negociations with Kurdish forces in Syria,” Pence told reporters, adding that he would be traveling urgently to Turkey at the president’s request.
“He’s directed me to lead a delegation. I will be leaving as quickly as possible to travel into the region to pursue a ceasefire and negotiated settlement,” Pence said.
“The United States of America did not give a green light for Turkey to invade Syria,” Pence said to reporters in front of the White House.
Pence said Trump had been firm with Erdogan on the phone.
“The United States of America simply is not going to tolerate Turkey’s invasion in Syria any further. We are calling on Turkey to stand down, end the violence and come to the negotiating table,” Pence told reporters.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who joined Pence, said the Treasury Department was taking economic action against Turkish ministries and senior Turkish government officials in response to the country’s military operations in Syria.
Trump has given orders to pull all US troops from northern Syria - about 1,000 soldiers - as Turkey presses a military operation against Kurdish forces there.