France, Germany to halt arms exports to Turkey over military offensive in Syria

Published October 13, 2019
Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters evacuate an injured fellow combatant in Tel Abyad, Syria on Saturday, October 12, 2019. — AP
Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters evacuate an injured fellow combatant in Tel Abyad, Syria on Saturday, October 12, 2019. — AP

France and Germany have announced that arm exports to Turkey, which has launched a military offensive into northeastern Syria against Syrian Kurdish fighters, will be halted.

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Saturday told weekly Bild am Sonntag that, "against the background of the Turkish military offensive in northeastern Syria, the government will not issue any new permissions for any weapons that can be used by Turkey in Syria".

Maas' remarks came as thousands of Kurdish immigrants rallied against the Turkish military offensive in cities across Germany.

Germany is home to one of the biggest Kurdish communities in Europe.

France is also halting exports of any arms to Turkey that could be used in its offensive against Kurds in Syria, and wants an immediate meeting of the United States-led coalition against extremists that are part of the militant Islamic State (IS) group.

France's defence and foreign ministries made the announcement in a statement on Saturday reiterating opposition to the Turkish military operation, which is facing growing international condemnation.

The statement said that France will push for a “Europe-wide approach” toward suspended arms sales at an EU foreign ministers' meeting on Monday.

The French government argues that the offensive is causing growing humanitarian problems and threatens the international fight against IS, "and therefore threatens European security". IS-linked extremists have staged deadly attacks in European countries.

France wants a meeting of the anti-IS coalition to discuss its next steps in the context of the Turkish actions.

Austria, Switzerland and Greece also saw Kurdish demonstrations against Turkey's offensive in Syria.

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