UK govt halts exports to Turkey of arms that ‘might be used in military operations’ against the Kurds in Syria
UK PM Boris Johnson’s government has suspended the granting of arms export licences to Turkey for any hardware that could be used in military operations against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.
The suspension follows those of Germany, France and Finland, who pledged on Monday to stop arms sales to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkish government. Turkey’s military incursion in Syria has now entered its seventh day.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, addressing lawmakers in the House of Commons on Tuesday, revealed that the government would cease issuing arms export licences to Turkey –a fellow NATO member– while they “conduct a review.”
No further export licences to Turkey for items that might be used in military operations in Syria will be granted while we conduct that review.
Erdogan has pledged to continue with his military operations, despite international condemnation.
As of Tuesday morning, Turkish forces had “liberated around a one thousand square-kilometer area from occupation of the separatist terror group,” Erdogan told a Turkic Council meeting in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku.
The president was referring to Kurdish militias, which Ankara perceives as an extension of the PKK, a militant and political organization based in Turkey.
Turkey’s operation kicked off days after the decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw American service personnel embedded with the Kurdish forces, in a move that has been condemned by his critics as a “betrayal” of the Syrian Kurds. Trump said the move was needed to “end the endless war.”
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