France, Germany halting arms exports to Turkey over its offensive against Kurds in Syria

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Members of The American Rojava Center for Democracy, an organization that advocates for freedom, democracy, and peace in Syria, take part with other activists in a rally outside the White House in Washington to protest Turkey's incursion into Kurdish-controlled northeast Syria and urge US action against Turkey. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso)
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Turkish-baked Syrian fighters drive an armoured personnel carrier near the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad on October 12, 2019, as they prepare to take part in the Turkish-led assault on northeastern Syria. (AFP / Bakr Alkasem)
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Kurds living in Greece shout slogans while burning a poster depicting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during a demonstration against Turkey's military action in northeastern Syria, in Athens on October 12, 2019. (REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis)
Updated 13 October 2019

France, Germany halting arms exports to Turkey over its offensive against Kurds in Syria

  • France to push for a “Europe-wide approach” toward suspended arms sales at an EU foreign ministers’ meeting on Monday
  • It also wants a meeting of the anti-Daesh coalition to discuss its next steps in the context of the Turkish actions

AKCAKALE, Turkey: France and Germany on Saturday said they were halting exports of any arms to Turkey that could be used in its offensive against Kurds in Syria.
France also wants an immediate meeting of the US-led coalition against Daesh extremists, of which Syrian Kurds were among the key players.
France’s defense and foreign ministries made the announcement in a statement reiterating opposition to the Turkish military operation, which is facing growing international condemnation.
Earlier on Saturday, the League of Arab states urged the UN Security Council to suspend military and intelligence support that could help Turkey’s offensive.
In a communique, the League said it rejected Turkey’s attempts to impose “demographic changes” in Syria by a so-called “safe zone.”
France, in a statement, said it will push for a “Europe-wide approach” toward suspended arms sales at an EU foreign ministers’ meeting on Monday.


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The French government argues the offensive is causing growing humanitarian problems and threatens the international fight against Daesh militants, “and therefore threatens European security.” Daesh-linked extremists have staged deadly attacks in European countries.
France wants a meeting of the anti-Daesh coalition to discuss its next steps in the context of the Turkish actions.
Germany also announced on Saturday it was curtailing arms exports to Turkey.
Heiko Maas told weekly Bild am Sonntag that, “against the background of the Turkish military offensive in northeastern Syria, the government will not issue any new permissions for any weapons that can be used by Turkey in Syria.”
Maas’ remarks came as thousands of Kurdish immigrants rallied against the Turkish military offensive in cities across Germany. Germany is home to one of the biggest Kurdish communities in Europe.
Austria, Switzerland and Greece also saw Kurdish demonstrations against Turkey’s offensive in Syria.
About 1,000 Kurds and a contingent of left-wing activists have protested in the northern city of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest, against the Turkish military offensive in northern Syria.
The protesters carried banners, including one saying, “Where is the UN?” and burned pictures of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They repeated the photo burning and slogans outside the Turkish consulate. Both premises were guarded by police forces.
In the capital Athens, police said close to 2,000 Kurds and other activists marched to the Turkish Embassy in the city center but police prevented them from getting too close. They dispersed after a peaceful protest. A small contingent of 150 protesters also marched to the US Embassy.

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Vandals damage cars in Arab neighborhood of east Jerusalem

Updated 09 December 2019

Vandals damage cars in Arab neighborhood of east Jerusalem

  • Masked suspects operated under the cover of darkness to vandalize the cars in east Jerusalem’s Shuafat neighborhood
  • The graffiti included the phrases “When Jews are stabbed, we aren’t silent”

JERUSALEM: Vandals slashed the tires of over 160 vehicles and sprayed slogans such as “Arabs=enemies” in a Palestinian neighborhood of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, Israeli police said Monday. Elsewhere, Palestinian residents of the volatile West Bank city of Hebron staged a general strike to protest the construction of a new Jewish settlement there.
Masked suspects operated under the cover of darkness to vandalize the cars in east Jerusalem’s Shuafat neighborhood and spray-painted Hebrew graffiti on a nearby wall, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. He said the authorities were treating the incident as criminal with “nationalistic motives.”
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion condemned the “hate crime” and called upon the police “to find the criminals as fast as possible and bring them to justice.”
The graffiti included the phrases “When Jews are stabbed, we aren’t silent,” and “There is no place in the land for enemies.”
Hard-line nationalist Israelis have been known to execute so-called “price tag” attacks against Palestinians in response to Palestinian militant attacks or perceived efforts by Israeli authorities to limit settlement expansion.
It was unclear what motivated Monday’s incident.
In Hebron, the West Bank’s largest city, Palestinian shops, schools and businesses were shuttered for the one-day strike. Some youngsters hurled stones at Israeli military patrols, and soldiers fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.
Israel’s new defense minister, Naftali Bennett, presented his plan for a new settlement there early this month. Bennett, a longtime supporter of the West Bank settlement movement, said his plan will double the Jewish population of Hebron.
Hebron is frequent flashpoint of violence. Hundreds of hard-line Jewish settlers guarded by thousands of soldiers live in the heart of the city, which has a population of over 200,000 Palestinians.
Palestinian Mayor Tayseer Abu Sneineh said the city has formed a legal team to challenge the decision in Israeli courts.
Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and quickly began settling the newly conquered territory.
Over the past five decades, Israel, citing security needs, has established a military bureaucracy in the West Bank that enforces movement restrictions on Palestinians through a complex permit system. Some 600,000 Israelis now live in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
The US announced a new American doctrine last month that does not consider Israeli settlements a violation of international law. It was the latest in a string of diplomatic gifts by the Trump administration to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.