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ANKARA (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Turkey on Thursday on a mission to persuade Ankara to discontinue its offensive in opposition to Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria, however Turkish officials said the motion would proceed regardless.

The week-long assault has created a fresh humanitarian crisis in Syria with 160,000 civilians backing out, a security alert over hundreds of Islamic Allege fighters abandoned in Kurdish jails, and a political maelstrom at home for Trump.

Trump has been accused of forsaking the Kurdish fighters, who were Washington’s fundamental companions within the war to dismantle Islamic Allege’s self-declared caliphate in Syria, by withdrawing U.S. troops from the border as Turkey launched its offensive on Oct. 9.

Trump defended his switch on Wednesday as “strategically shining”. He said he thought Pence and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan would indulge in a a success assembly, however warned of sanctions and tariffs that “will seemingly be devastating to Turkey’s financial system” otherwise.

The White Condo launched a letter from Trump to Erdogan from Oct. 9 that said: “Don’t be a elaborate man” and “Don’t be a fool!” Turkish broadcaster CNN Turk said Turkey had rejected Trump’s entice reach a deal to lead sure of battle and the letter became “thrown within the trash”.

A Turkish authentic told Reuters: “The letter Trump despatched did no longer indulge in the impression he expected in Turkey which skill of it had nothing to gain seriously.”

“What’s obvious is that Turkey would now not settle on a terrorist organization on its border and the operation is no longer going to waste which skill of of the reaction that has been coming.”

Pence and Secretary of Allege Mike Pompeo were seemingly to bring the identical U.S. requires of their assembly with Erdogan, which became scheduled to launch round 1130 GMT, the authentic said.

“Nonetheless, negotiating with a terrorist organization or turning abet from the ongoing operation are no longer on the agenda.”

A high aide to Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin, said Turkey’s foreign ministry became making ready to retaliate to the U.S. sanctions.

UNTIL GOALS MET

Erdogan has brushed off the sanctions and rejected a world chorus of calls to discontinue the offensive, which Turkey says will create a “safe zone” extending 20 miles (32 km) into northeast Syria to make sure the return of millions of Syrian refugees and seemingly the living of Kurdish fighters Ankara views as terrorists.

Turkey will waste its operation when Kurdish forces withdraw from the “safe zone” and “no vitality” can deter the operation till it reaches its needs, the Turkish chief said.

Trump has defended his switch to withdraw troops from Syria as portion of a grand broader effort to lift U.S. troopers home from “unending wars”, despite criticism by contributors of his own Republican Occasion.

Turkey’s operation has also allowed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to send his forces to an living that had been beyond his assist a watch on for years within the more than eight-yr-former Syrian battle.

It also precipitated the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), of which the Kurdish YPG is the necessary side, to strike a contend with Damascus.

Turkey views the U.S.-backed YPG as a terrorist organization which skill of of its hyperlink to Kurdish militants waging an insurgency inner Turkey, and has been infuriated with Washington’s toughen.

A Reuters cameraman along the Turkish border with Syria said clashes persisted all the map by the border metropolis of Ras al Ain on Thursday and that Turkish warplanes were flying overhead after a lull in struggling with overnight.

Ankara had beforehand said it has taken assist a watch on of Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad, two key towns along the border.

Syrian troops accompanied by Russian forces indulge in within the interim entered Kobani, a strategic border metropolis and a doable flashpoint for a grand broader battle, said the British-primarily based monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrives at Esenboga Global Airport in Ankara, Turkey, October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

Turkish authorities said 20 of us had been killed in Turkey by bombardment from Syria, including eight of us who were killed in a mortar assault on the metropolis of Nusaybin by YPG militants on Friday, per the native governor’s office.

Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen TV reported that Russian-backed Syrian forces had also put aside up outposts in Raqqa, the one-time capital of Islamic Allege’s caliphate, which the Kurds captured in 2017 on the peak of their marketing campaign with U.S. toughen.

Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV said from the Tabqa protection power air inferior plan Raqqa that Syrian govt troops had developed in that living.

“We entered the Tabqa protection power airport without considerations, there became no sing,” an military officer told the channel from the inferior, where Islamic Allege fighters accomplished scores of Syrian troops and circulated a video of their corpses in 2014.

Troopers entered Tabqa and nearby villages on Monday, teach media said, a deployment that restored the teach’s foothold in that portion of Syria for the necessary time in years.

With U.S. air vitality and particular forces, SDF had battled for weeks in 2017 to gain Tabqa and a nearby hydroelectric dam – the country’s supreme dam – from Islamic Allege.

Additionally, teach-crawl Ikhbariya TV broadcast stay from Kobani, where it said troopers deployed into the metropolis since yesterday.

The channel said of us who fled Turkish assaults on the primarily Kurdish metropolis in most in model days were now starting to come abet to their homes.

“We are steadfast correct on the Turkish border,” an military officer told the teach TV.

CIVILIAN CASUALTIES

The Kurdish-led administration within the put aside said the

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Turkish offensive had killed 218 civilians, including 18 children since it started per week ago. The struggling with has also wounded more than 650 of us, it said.

The operation has also created a land-bustle between Turkey and Russia – now the undisputed foreign powers within the living – to partition Kurdish areas that were beforehand below U.S protection.

Russia, Assad’s most extremely efficient ally, has known as the offensive “unacceptable” and said it wants to be tiny in time and scale.

Erdogan, who has solid close ties with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin by protection and vitality cooperation, to boot to joint efforts for a political resolution to the Syrian crisis, will streak to Sochi on Oct. 22 for emergency talks on Syria.

Editing by Dominic Evans and Angus MacSwan