World

German chancellor urges Erdogan to immediately end Syria offensive

AFP-JIJI

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to halt Turkey’s offensive in northern Syria immediately, warning it could spark further destabilization of the region and a resurgence of the Islamic State jihadi group.

In a phone conversation with Erdogan, Merkel “spoke in favor for an immediate end to the military operation,” the chancellor’s office said in a statement.

The operation threatens to drive large parts of the population from their homes, she said, noting that it would also risk “destabilization of the region and lead to a resurgence of the IS.”

Germany and France on Saturday said they are suspending arms exports to Turkey over its offensive in Syria against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey sees the YPG as a terrorist off-shoot of Kurdish rebels in its own territory, but Western powers used the Kurds as the main ground force against the Islamic State group in Syria.