Arms sales bans by the West against Turkey will not stop Ankara’s operation in Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.
The premier said two Turkish soldiers and 16 members of the Syrian National Army had been killed during the operation which was launch on Wednesday.
France suspended sales of military equipment to Turkey that could be used as part of its offensive against Kurds in Syria, the French Ministries of the Armies and the Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.
“The effect of this decision is immediate,” the two ministries said, noting that the meeting which is scheduled to be held by the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council today in Luxembourg will be an opportunity to coordinate a European approach in this regard, according to Radio Monte Carlo.
Turkey says the primary motive for its military operation is to clear the Kurdish militias from its border region, such as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria which is currently entrenched east of the Euphrates River in particular and which Turkey sees as a national security threat, as well as the establishment of a safe zone in the north-east of the country. The operation would achieve two things at once: the push back against the US-backed Kurdish militias and the placement of at least two million refugees in that safe zone, providing displaced Syrians with a new home in their country of origin.
The military operation that is third Turkish incursion into northern Syria, following on from Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016 and Operation Olive Branch in 2018, and fulfils Erdogan’s statement last week that Turkey must take its own course in setting up the safe zone and that it must go through the process alone.