08:47 GMT +321 November 2019
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    Daesh fighters fire during a a battle against the Syrian government forces, at al-Sinaa neighborhoods, in the oil-rich city of Deir el-Zour, east of Syria (File)

    Norway Wary of Nordic Daesh Fighters Possibly Fleeing Syria In Event of New Combat - Academic

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    NATO allies have increasingly expressed concern over Turkey pressing ahead with a new round of a military campaign in Syria, and most particularly, over Ankara’s hardline stance on the Kurds, whom it brands “terrorists”, while the latter took action against Daesh newcomers from Scandinavia.

    After Ankara launched a new military operation against Syrian Kurds and remaining Daesh fighters in the area, Norway made a decision to block any new applications for export licenses for military and multi-use military products to Turkey adding it will also reconsider existing ones, the country's Foreign Ministry stated. The move comes in the wake of a similar move by Helsinki.

    The “strong reaction” followed what in Scandinavia has been deemed as “an unnecessary intervention” that may see new human rights violations as well as Nordic Daesh fighters fleeing from their captivity in the event of new combat, according to Dr Stig Jarle Hansen, associate professor and leader of the international relations programme at the Norwegian University of Life Science and one of the world's leading experts on Islamism.

    The expert believes it is vital to create some “negotiated settlement", asserting that “what is now happening can create 'serious reprecautions' [sic], including aiding the re-growth of the Islamic
    State".

    "They [Norway] are also afraid that Scandinavian Islamic State fighters will be able to flee from Kurdish captivity due to the combat taking place", Hansen explained.

    According to a December 2018 report by Norwegian newspaper ABC Nahheit, some 30 Norwegians who had gone to Syria to take part in hostilities there have been killed, while some 30 others are still inside the country.

    Per Julie Wilhelmsen, a senior researcher in defence and foreign policy at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, concerns have arisen not merely about the possibility of new bloodshed in Syria, but also about the illegality of Turkey’s move at large.

    She says that with the country being a NATO member, albeit a small one, Norway chooses to be a guardian of international law, remaining wary about Ankara's labelling of the Kurds as "terrorists" while the latter have been left largely “unprotected” after “the crucial role they played in the struggle against the Islamic State".*

    "Operation Peace Spring" launched by Turkey earlier this week in Kurdish-dominated northeastern Syria is aimed at clearing the border of “terrorists”, as Ankara commonly refers to the Kurds and set up a
    controlled "security zone" in the area.

    The move closely follows a pledge by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Daesh* would in no way resurface on Syria’s northern borders, with the Turks prepared to guarantee the positive outcome of the campaign. He stressed Friday that if the EU denounces the Turkish move calling it an invasion, they will flood Europe with millions of refugees from Daesh's ranks wishing to escape from embattled Syrian territory. 

    Finland became the first NATO ally among the Nordic countries to halt military exports to Ankara, despite Ankara having in recent years developed into one of Helsinki's most important defence partners. In a similar move, Sweden suggested blocking defence exports to Ankara at a more global, all-EU level, while France, like Norway, has put a stop to military and military-related exports to Turkey.

    * Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS/Islamic State) are terrorist groups banned in
    Russia and many other countries.

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    PKK, YPG, Kurds, operation, offensive, campaign, Turkey
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