Spain stops arms exports to Turkey over Syria offensive

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Spain, a major arms exporter to Turkey, on Tuesday joined France and Germany in halting sales of military material to Ankara over its offensive in northeastern Syria.

Spain’s Socialist government asked Turkey to “put an end to this military operation,” saying it “endangered regional stability,” increased the number of refugees and threatened Syria’s territorial integrity.

“In coordination with its European Union partners, Spain will deny new export licenses for military equipment that can be used in the operation in Syria,” a foreign ministry statement said.

“Turkey’s legitimate security concerns must be addressed and resolved by political and diplomatic means, not by military actions.”

Spain was Turkey’s fifth biggest arms supplier between 2008 and 2018 after the United States, South Korea, Germany, and Italy, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Turkey’s assault against Syria-based Kurdish forces launched last week has prompted a chorus of international condemnation.

Earlier on Tuesday British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said London would suspend “export licenses to Turkey for items which might be used in military operations in Syria.”

Several other European nations, including France and Germany, have already taken a similar move.

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