Latest on Turkey’s Syria Incursion: Arab League Urges UN Action
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Heavy fighting continues as Turkey presses ahead with its military operation against Kurds in northeast Syria, now in its fifth day.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the offensive aims to remove the Kurdish-led forces from the border area and create a "safe zone" so millions of Syrian refugees can be returned.
The incursion began after the United States announced it was withdrawing its troops from the region, leaving Kurdish YPG fighters without US military support.
France suspends Turkey weapons sales
France said it suspended arms exports to Turkey amid the latter's ongoing military push into northeastern Syria, which it said threatened European security.
"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," a joint statement from the foreign and defense ministries said, according to Al Jazeera.
The statement added that the European Union foreign ministers would coordinate their position on Monday at a meeting in Luxembourg.
Turkish foreign minister rejects US mediation offer
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu dismissed an offer by US President Donald Trump to mediate between Ankara and Kurdish YPG forces to halt Turkey's incursion in Syria, according to the transcript of an interview with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
"We don't mediate, negotiate with terrorists. The only thing to be done is for these terrorists to lay down arms," Cavusoglu said. "We tried the political solution in Turkey in the past and we saw what happened."
Arab League urges UN action
The Arab League called for the United Nations Security Council to take measures to force Turkey to halt its military offensive and "immediately" withdraw its forces from Syria.
A communique issued after Saturday's meeting of Arab foreign ministers also urged the world body to suspend military and intelligence support that could help Turkey's operation.
The communique said Arab countries reject Turkey's attempts to impose "demographic changes" in Syria by a so-called "safe zone". Arab countries should consider taking "diplomatic, economic, investment, cultural measures ... to confront the Turkish aggression," it added.
Two member countries, Qatar and Somalia, expressed reservations about the communique.
Thousands protest in Europe against Turkey's Syria incursion
Thousands of people demonstrated in France, Germany, Greece and Cyprus denouncing the Turkish military operation in Syria.
In the French capital, Paris, some warned the offensive could allow Daesh resurgence.
Thousands protest in Iraq's Erbil
Thousands of people took to the streets in the city of Erbil in Iraq to protest against the Turkish offensive.
Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith, reporting from Erbil, said there was "little love lost" between the Kurds in the region and the Turkish authorities, adding there was also a "real feeling of betrayal by the Americans" among those demonstrating.
Germany bans some arms exports to Turkey
In response to Turkey's assault in northeastern Syria, Germany banned some arms exports to Turkey, according to the German weekly Bild Am Sonntag (Bams).
"Against the backdrop of the Turkish military offensive in north-eastern Syria, the Federal Government will not issue any new permits for all military equipment that could be used by Turkey in Syria," Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was quoted as saying.
Germany exported arms worth 243 million euros ($268m) to Turkey in 2018, accounting for almost one-third of all German weapons exports, according to the paper.
Turkish claims control of Ras al-Ain
The Turkish defense ministry said its forces seized control of Ras al-Ain, one of the two key border towns at the focus of Ankara's military offensive in Syria.
"As part of the successful operations being conducted in the framework of Operation Peace Spring, the town of Rasulayn, located east of the Euphrates, has been brought under control," the ministry said in a post on Twitter.
However, the YPG denied the report.