The 28 EU countries have unanimously decided to suspend arms supplies to Turkey. During their consultations in Luxembourg, EU foreign ministers condemned the Turkish military operation in Northeast Syria and called on Ankara to withdraw from Syria.
According to the Member States, with the raid, Turkey is undermining stability in the region, resulting in more civilian casualties and displaced persons. It also makes the destruction of the Islamic State more difficult.
A few European countries, including the Netherlands, France and Germany, had previously decided separately to stop supplying weapons. Minister Blok calls it “a huge step forward” that the EU is now united.
“The European Union has never condemned a NATO country,” says Blok. “A very clear signal, I am glad it worked.” He does not exclude further sanctions.
Prior to the meeting, Blok announced that among the IS women and children who escaped this weekend and were sent away from relief camps in Syria, there were no Dutch people. That is being investigated even further, says Blok.
Kurdish fighters said earlier that guarding IS men is no longer a priority, now that Turkey has opened the attack. Ankara contradicts that the Turkish offensive has led to the escape of IS’ers from Kurdish prisons and camps.
The Turkish defense minister Akar accused the Kurdish militants today of taking IS people out of a prison. “When we arrived, we saw that the YPG had emptied him and that the IS fighters had been abducted. We determined this with photos and video footage.”
US President Trump stated, without providing any evidence, that the Kurdish militias are trying to get the US back into the conflict by releasing IS people. He threatened again with severe sanctions for Turkey.
Turkey started the military operation in Northeast Syria last week. According to President Erdogan, the goal is solely to expel the Kurdish YPG militia, not to break up Syria. Yesterday evening the Syrian army also started a march in the region, after an agreement with Kurdish militias.