Vice President Mike Pence departs for Turkey, Wednesday, October 16, hoping to halt a week-long assault on Syrian Kurds, after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew U.S. forces from northern Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged Wednesday to continue a military operation into Syria, despite calls from Washington for a ceasefire. Erdogan's pledge came ahead of high-level visit led by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The visit reportedly was arranged during a call between Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump. President Trump is seeking a cease-fire in northeast Syria. "We've put the strongest sanctions that you can imagine (on Turkey). We have a lot in store if they don't have an impact, including massive tariffs on steel." Turkey launched its military operation last week to take out Syrian Kurdish forces branded by Ankara as terrorists, but viewed by much of the West as key partners in the fight against Islamic State. It came days after the White House announced Turkey was moving forward with the operation and that U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the area. The decision to withdraw U.S. troops has been widely criticized by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.