Count the Kremlin among those puzzled by the personal letter President Trump sent to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “You don’t often encounter such language in correspondence between heads of state," says spokesman Dmitry Peskov. "It's a highly unusual letter." Among other things, Trump advised Erdogan, "Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool!," adding that the Turkish leader would be vilified as a "devil" if he doesn't act properly in regard to the Kurds in Syria. It ended with, "I will call you later." Turkey has not officially commented on the letter, though the BBC, citing anonymous sources, reports that Erdogan threw it into the garbage upon reading.
The reports are surfacing as Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Ankara trying to secure a ceasefire. The AP reports that after hours of meetings, it remained unclear whether any progress had been made. Pence's trip comes a day after Trump again defended his decision to pull US troops from near the Syrian border, clearing the way for Turkey to launch a military strike against Kurds there. "It's not our border," said Trump. "We shouldn't be losing lives over it." He also seemingly downplayed the crisis, suggesting that the various players involved should work it out, not the US. "Syria may have some help with Russia, and that's fine," Trump said. "They've got a lot of sand over there. So, there's a lot of sand that they can play with." (Read more President Trump stories.)