World

Syria: Foreign Secretary Suspends Turkish Export Licences For Military Items

The UK will continue selling arms to Turkey but will not grant new export licences for weapons that may be used against Kurds in Syria.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab spoke today in the House of Commons (Picture: PA).

The UK has responded to Turkish aggression in Syria by freezing export licences "for items which might be used in military operations", said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Responding to an urgent question posed by former defence minister Tobias Ellwood in the House of Commons, Mr Raab announced a review into defence exports to the NATO ally.

"This is not the action we expected from an ally," he said.

"It is reckless, it is counter-productive and it plays straight into the hands of Russia and indeed the Assad regime."

Mr Raab added that the UK "takes its arms export control responsibilities very seriously" and will keep defence exports to Turkey "under very careful and continual review".

No further military export licences to Turkey will be granted.

The Turkish army has launched a military operation into northern Syria (Picture: PA).

Turkey's cross-border offensive into Syria has entered its seventh day, with the Syrian Army prepared to stand with the Kurdish forces in the northern region. 

The Kurds had previously fought alongside the United States against the so-called Islamic State group (IS). 

Mr Raab called on Turkey to "exercise maximum restraint and to bring an end to this unilateral military action".

During a meeting in Downing Street with Boris Johnson, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg raised "deep concern" about the consequences of Turkish actions.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry said the Kurdish forces, left behind in northern Syria during a US evacuation, would "reluctantly" to side with Syria and Russia "simply for their own protection".

Dominic Raab stated that the UK needs "more than ever" to have closer co-operation "between our international partners, that means the US, and the EU" as well as NATO.