Turkish military vehicles near border
Turkish military vehicles near borderReuters

France and Germany on Saturday suspended arms exports to Turkey in response to its offensive into Syria against Kurdish fighters, AFP reports.

Turkish soldiers on Wednesday launched a cross-border assault against Kurdish fighters Turkey sees as terrorists.

In a joint statement from the defense and foreign ministries, France said it had suspended all planned exports of "war materials" to Turkey that could be used in their offensive into Syria, according to AFP.

The Paris statement came hours after Germany, one of Turkey's main arms suppliers, also said it had suspended exports.

A number of countries have condemned Turkey's offensive, and Finland, Norway and The Netherlands have already announced that they are stopping arms exports to the country, noted AFP.

A meeting in Luxembourg Monday of the European Union's foreign affairs committee will decide on a coordinated European approach to the issue, French statement said.

It noted France's "firm condemnation of the unilateral offensive engaged by Turkey in the northeast of Syria."

Both the French and German statements Saturday warned that the offensive could have serious humanitarian consequences.

Responding to Germany's announcement, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Germany's Deutsche Welle radio that it was "a question of national security, a question of survival".

Any arms embargo would only strengthen their resolve, he added.

The Turkish operation began three days after US President Donald Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of US forces in northeastern Syria, with some arguing the move was an authorization for Turkey to invade the region.

While Trump defended his administration’s plans to withdraw US forces from northern Syria, he also made clear that the US would not allow Turkey to do anything inhumane in Syria.

On Friday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that Trump will sign an executive order expanding the administration's ability to impose sanctions on Turkish officials.

Mnuchin said that the executive order does not itself contain new sanctions, but gives Trump the authority to enact them.