Norway’s foreign minister said Thursday that the country will suspend arms sales to Turkey over that country’s military operations in northern Syria against U.S.-backed Kurdish forces who helped fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide told AFP in an email that the country will pause the sales of defensive arms or other weaponry to Turkey’s government, which has faced international criticism for attacking Kurdish forces.
“Given that the situation is complex and changing quickly, the foreign ministry as a precautionary measure will not handle any new demands for exports of defence material or material for multiple uses … to Turkey,” Soreide said.
Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria has thrown the future of anti-ISIS operations in the area in question. Tens of thousands of ISIS fighters are detained in camps or hiding in the region, which is primarily monitored by Kurdish forces.
President Trump faced widespread criticism in Washington this week after he announced that he would withdraw U.S. forces from the region ahead of the Turkish military operation. Lawmakers have called the move a betrayal of the Kurds, who have worked closely with U.S. personnel in the war with ISIS.
Trump attempted to stem the tide of criticism on Wednesday and issued a statement trying to distance himself from the Turkish operation.
“This morning, Turkey, a NATO member, invaded Syria. The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea,” Trump said.
But Trump has also defended the move, saying the U.S. does not need troops in Syria.
“From the first day I entered the political arena, I made it clear that I did not want to fight these endless, senseless wars—especially those that don’t benefit the United States,” he added.