Now, in day four of Turkey’s military incursion into northeast Syria following a US troop pullback from border areas, both Germany and France have announced they will halt all weapons sales to Turkey, citing the possibility they could be used in the offensive. This also as an EU-wide embargo is being considered on Ankara amid its so-called ‘Operation Peace Spring’.
Germany moved first, with Heiko Maas on Saturday telling newspaper 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.”
France quickly followed, with a joint French Foreign and Defense ministries statement saying, “In expectation of the end of this offensive, France has decided to suspend all plans to export to Turkey weapons that could be used in this offensive.”
“This decision is with immediate effect,” the French statement added, at a crucial moment days away from next week’s planned EU meeting in Luxembourg were a broader European response to Turkey’s operation will be considered. Notably the Netherlands and Norway have also imposed their own temporary arms embargo on Turkey.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s office “reiterated the need to make the Turkish offensive stop immediately,” in a statement Saturday. Macron also reported told President Trump in a phone call that Turkey’s assault is likely to lead to a resurgence of ISIS and must be immediately halted.
Given that now the EU’s two most influential countries have issued the definitive bans, more are likely to follow, especially after the United Nations issued shocking figures this week, tallying that some 100,000 people have been driven from their homes since the start of Turkey’s offensive on Wednesday.
Scores of Syrian civilians have been reported killed by local Kurdish media, while Turkey’s Defense Ministry has boasted of over 400 SDF fighters “neutralized” — killed or captured. Turkish troops and allied Syrian ‘rebel’ proxy fighters captured several northern village, including the key town of Ras al-Ayn by Saturday.
Meanwhile, a top SDF official has again lashed out at Washington’s “betrayal,” telling a senior US diplomat, “You are leaving us to be slaughtered,” according to CNN.
SDF top military commander Mazloum Abdi further said, “You are not willing to protect the people, but you do not want another force to come and protect us. You have sold us. This is immoral.”
Indeed according to a number of reports, the US coalition has for months been blocking attempts of SDF and Syrian Kurdish political groups to negotiate and potentially reconcile with the Syrian government, which would have been essential for the Kurds withstanding the current assault. Now with the sudden withdrawal of US backing against the Turks, the SDF is all alone with no external state support of anyone.