19:55 GMT21 February 2020
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    US Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Ankara to meet Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week to discuss the country's ongoing military operation in Syria, the White House said in a statement on Tuesday.

    According to the White House, during the meeting with Turkish President, Pence will try to urge Turkey to reach an immediate ceasefire in Syria and to work towards a negotiated settlement.

    "On October 17, Vice President Pence will participate in a bilateral meeting with President Erdoğan," the White House said. "During the meeting, Vice President Pence will reiterate President Trump's commitment to maintain punishing economic sanctions on Turkey until a resolution is reached."

    Pence will lead a US delegation that will include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien and Ambassador James Jeffrey, the statement said.

    "In Turkey, the Vice President will voice the United States’ commitment to reach an immediate ceasefire and the conditions for a negotiated settlement," it added.

    The statement emphasized that Turkey's ongoing offensive in northern Syria undermines the campaign against the Daesh* terror group, puts civilians in danger and threatens the security of the entire region.

    Earlier, US Vice President told reporters that US President Donald Trump called on his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to stop the operation in northern Syria and directed Pence and O'Brien to head to Turkey for negotiations.

    Turkey launched its offensive in northern Syria on October 9 in a bid to create a "safe zone" along the border that would be free of Kurdish militias, whom it considers an extension of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (banned by Ankara).

    *Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State/IS), a terrorist group banned in Russia and a wide number of other countries.


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