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Syria offensive: Federal government stops all arms exports to Turkey


Chancellor Angela Merkel has again called for an end to the Turkish military offensive. The German government now wants to stop all arms exports to Turkey.

According to Chancellor Angela Merkel, the German arms export stop for Turkey continues because of the Syria offensive as previously known. Merkel said in a government statement in the Bundestag, the Turkish military operation against the Kurdish militia YPG was "a humanitarian drama with great geopolitical consequences." She added: "And that is why the Federal Government will not deliver arms to Turkey under the current conditions." So far, the federal government had just announced that exports will no longer be approved by weapons that can be used in the conflict.

If you take the Chancellor's word, the federal government will no longer issue any delivery permits for Turkey, no matter what the weapons are. In addition, Merkel's statement could mean that even the delivery of already approved transactions has been stopped. That would be a complete arms export stop, as it already exists for Saudi Arabia and how parts of the opposition have been calling for it for days. But there was initially no confirmation.

In the first eight months of this year Turkey received war weapons for 250.4 million euros from Germany. This is already the highest annual value since 2005. Already last year, deliveries to Turkey amounted to 242.8 million euros, almost a third of all German war weapon exports (770.8 million euros).

Kurds accuse Turkey of using banned weapons

In the Turkish military operation, the Kurdish self-government has meanwhile accused the use of banned weapons such as napalm and phosphorus. "In obvious violation of law and international treaties, Turkish aggression against (Ras al-Ain) is carried out with all kinds of weapons," said the administration of the Kurdish autonomous region.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the Turkish army and allied Syrian militia had captured parts of the city of Ras al-Ain, on which the fighting has been focused for a few days, by the Kurdish People's Defense Units (YPG). The accusations about the use of napalm and phosphorus could not confirm the opposition-oriented organization. She said, however, that wounded had come with burns in a nearby hospital.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar immediately rejected the allegations. "It's common knowledge that the Turkish forces have no chemical weapons in their inventory," Akar said after a meeting with US Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, who was in Ankara with a high-level US delegation. The YPG used chemical weapons to blame Turkey, he said.

EU countries call for the end of the military operation

Last week, after President Donald Trump pulled US troops out of northern Syria, the Turkish government sent troops to northern Syria. The military offensive is directed against the Kurdish militia YPG, which is viewed by Turkey as a terrorist organization. Turkey wants to build a 30-kilometer-deep so-called security zone along the border on Syrian territory and demands the withdrawal of the Kurdish militia from the area. There are then to be settled up to two million fled to Turkey mostly Arab Syrians. Turkey fears a strengthening of the Kurds beyond their southern border and thus also the Kurds striving for autonomy on their own territory. The SDF rebels were an important US ally in the fight against the radical Islamic IS militia in civil war Syria.

Several EU countries have called for an end to the offensive. "New armed conflicts in the north-east will further endanger the stability of the entire region, increase the suffering of civilians and bring about further expulsions that will increase the number of refugees in Syria and the region," said Germany, Belgium, France, Poland, United Kingdom and Estonia last week in a joint statement with. Over 100,000 people have already fled the region.

Despite growing international criticism and the threat of sanctions from both the US and the EU, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is unwilling to end the military operation. "We will not stop, no matter what is said," he said.

Source: zeit

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