ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Canada is the latest nation to halt arms sales to Turkey amid an ongoing military operation against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.
A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said in a statement that Turkey’s unilateral military action “risks undermining the stability of an already-fragile region.”
It added that the military operation would worsen the humanitarian situation and “[roll] back progress achieved by the Global Coalition Against Da’esh, of which Turkey is a member,” using the Arabic term for the so-called Islamic State.
“We call for the protection of civilians and on all parties to respect their obligations under international law, including unhindered access for humanitarian aid.”
In 2018, Canada exported over $115 million in defense-related goods to Turkey. It is unclear if any existing sales have been halted.
Italy, France, and Germany have also announced an end of arms exports to Turkey amid mounting international pressure.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Sunday to discuss developments in Syria.
“We have a common desire that this offensive ends,” Macron stated after the meeting with Merkel, reiterating his warning that the continued Turkish offensive would create a humanitarian catastrophe as well as encourage the so-called Islamic State to return.
China has also called on Turkey to stop its military incursion into Syria.
Turkish warplanes and artillery began bombarding Syria’s predominantly Kurdish northeastern town of Serekaniye on Oct. 9, the beginning of an offensive Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called “Operation Peace Spring” that has since spread to several other areas.
Erdogan claims he wants to create a so-called “safe zone” in northern Syria and wants to protect his country’s southern border from “terror groups,” referring to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which Turkey claims has ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Group (PKK).
However, the military incursion has caused a catastrophic humanitarian situation, forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes and seek refuge in southern areas or the neighboring Kurdistan Region.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), at least 54 civilians have been killed since the start of the Turkish offensive.