US's Pence and Pompeo head to Turkey seeking ceasefire

Washington (AFP) –


US Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo departed for Turkey on Wednesday, seeking to secure a ceasefire in the Turkish invasion of northern Syria.

"Our mission set is to see if we can get a ceasefire, see if we can get this brokered," Pompeo told reporters on his plane.

Pence and Pompeo, who travelled on different planes, were scheduled to hold talks on Thursday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but Erdogan has said he will not meet them.

Erdogan has also vowed that Turkey's operation -- which was facilitated by the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria -- would continue.

US President Donald Trump, facing with mounting criticism over the abrupt pullout, has denied he gave Erdogan a "green light" to launch operations against the Kurds.

Pence's office said the US would pursue "punishing economic sanctions" unless there was an immediate ceasefire.