Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that "this violence needs to end" as Turkey escalated its attacks on the Kurds in northern Syria as Vice President Mike Pence prepares to visit Ankara amid new economic sanctions against the country.
"Turkey's escalation of hostilities with the Syrian Kurdish partners who have helped the United States fight terrorism is completely unacceptable," McConnell said on the Senate floor. "This violence needs to end."
Pence is scheduled to leave Wednesday for Turkey, leading a delegation that includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien.
They will meet Thursday with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
President Donald Trump announced economic sanctions against Turkey on Monday, adding that "we're asking for a ceasefire" and have "a lot in store" if Ankara does not comply.
McConnell has been ramping up his attacks on President Trump about Syria, joining many other Republicans and Democrats who have bashed his U.S. troop withdrawal — which led to Turkey's incursion into northern Syria.
In the Senate, McConnell said: "I expect that our Turkish allies will listen carefully to the anger from Washington, welcome our vice president, and take steps to repair our important relationship.
"It would be a tragedy for both of our nations if Turkey's escalation in Syria imperils our common fight against [the Islamic State] and embolden traditional adversaries like Iran and Russia.
"This would be bad for U.S. interests, but it would be terrible for Turkey."
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