14:18 GMT +314 November 2019
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    German-made Turkish Leopard 2A4 battle tanks are stationed in a field near the Syrian border at Hassa, in Hatay province on 25 January 2018, as part of operation Olive Branch, Turkey's attack on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin.

    Merkel Says Germany Will Not Supply Any Weapons to Turkey Amid Syria Offensive

    © AFP 2019 / Ozan Kose
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    Ankara launched 'Operation Peace Spring' last week, justifying the attack on Syria as necessary to clear the area of "terrorists" prior to relocating Syrian refugees who currently reside in Turkey. The Syrian government decried the incursion as an aggressive violation of its sovereignty, and the international community widely condemned the move.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Berlin would not deliver any arms to Turkey in the wake of Ankara's operation in northeast Syria.

    "In recent days I have strongly urged Turkey... to end its military operation against the Kurdish military and I'm stressing that again now. It's a humanitarian drama with huge geopolitical effects so Germany will not deliver any weapons to Turkey under the current conditions," Merkel told Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag.

    On Monday, the EU's foreign ministers agreed to condemn the Turkish encroachment into Syria through stringent arms export checks. However, the bloc has so far refrained from implementing a full weapons embargo.

    The Chancellor also noted that Russia and Iran have considerably boosted their role in Syria following the withdrawal of US troops. 

    Merkel's announcement comes shortly after Bild newspaper cited German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas as saying that Berlin would stop selling weapons to Ankara.

    "In light of the Turkish offensive in northern Syria, the German government has decided to stop issuing permissions to sell any military equipment that can be used by Turkey in Syria," he was quoted as saying.

    Finland and Norway have already suspended military exports to Turkey, while the majority of Swedish parties are considering making such a move as well.

    Turkey kicked off its operation in northern Syria om 9 October with a stated goal to clear up the region of Kurdish militia and Daesh*; Ankara considers the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) to be terrorists. Until days before the Turkish operation, the YPG had been supported by the US in their fight against Daesh as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF); according to US President Trump, Daesh has already been defeated in the region.. The offensive has been widely condemned by the international community; the Syrian government has called it an aggressive violation of the nation's sovereignty and moved to work together with Kurdish forces to defend the country.

    *Daesh, also known as ISIS/IS/ISIL, is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other counties.

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