Vice President Pence heading to Middle East as Turkey attacks Kurds

WASHINGTON (AP) – Vice President Mike Pence says he’s being dispatched to the Middle East by President Donald Trump as U.S. troops pull out of northeast Syria and Turkish forces invade.

Pence says Trump spoke with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier Monday and called for an immediate end to Turkey’s moves against the Kurds in Syria.

Pence says the president is “very concerned about instability in the region” and is denying that Trump gave Turkey the green light to launch the invasion when he announced a troop pullout.

Pence says the U.S. is “simply not going to tolerate Turkey’s invasion of Syria any longer.”

Trump has slapped new sanctions on Turkey to pressure the country to halt an invasion that has opened the door to a resurgence of the Islamic State group.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she and a leading Senate Republican want Congress to produce bipartisan legislation to “overturn” President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.

The California Democrat says the measure must be stronger than sanctions on Turkey Trump announced Monday. Turkey invaded northern Syria after Trump started pulling U.S. troops from the area.

Pelosi says she spoke Monday to South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham.

He’s been drafting a bipartisan measure to bar weapons sales to Turkey and impose sanctions on the U.S. assets of Turkish leaders.

The top Democrat and Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee have said they will introduce similar legislation.

Trump said Monday he was stopping trade talks with Turkey and boosting its steel tariffs, and would order sanctions on Turkish officials.

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