Mike Pence heads to Ankara as US president contradicts official assessment on Turkish offensive

A senior US delegation faces the mammoth task of pressuring Turkey to halt its offensive in north-east Syria or face US sanctions, hours after Donald Trump declared the US has no stake in defending Kurdish fighters who died by the thousands as America’s partners against Islamic State extremists.

The US vice-president, Mike Pence, is leading the delegation to Ankara, along with the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and the White House national security, adviser Robert O’Brien. They are expected to meet the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erodoğan, at 2.30pm local time (12.30pm BST/7.30am ET).

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