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SYRIA

Nato ally Norway suspends new arms exports to Turkey

Norway, a Nato ally of Turkey, announced Thursday it was suspending all new arms exports to the country after Ankara launched a military offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

Nato ally Norway suspends new arms exports to Turkey
Smoke rising from the Syrian town of Tal Abyad on October 10th. Photo: AFP

“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,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said in an email sent to AFP.

She added that the ministry would also review all licenses for arms exportation that have already been issued.

Syria's Kurds, who were the West's allies in the fight against Islamic State group jihadists, were battling Thursday to hold off a Turkish invasion as thousands of civilians fled air strikes and shelling that deepened fears of a humanitarian crisis and raised international alarm.

Finland, which is not a member of the Nato alliance, announced on Wednesday the suspension of all new arms exports to Turkey or any other country involved in the fighting.

READ ALSO: Norway decides against participation in Nato missile defence system

SYRIA

Kerry in Oslo: US patience on Syria ‘very limited’

US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia on Wednesday that US patience on the Syria conflict and the issue of President Bashar al-Assad's fate is running out.

Kerry in Oslo: US patience on Syria 'very limited'
Kerry's visit to Norway included a working lunch with PM Erna Solberg. Photo: Fredrik Varfjell / NTB scanpix / POOL
“Russia needs to understand that our patience is not infinite, in fact it is very limited with whether or not Assad is going to be held accountable,” Kerry said during his visit to Norway, where he will attend the Oslo Forum. 
 
“We also are prepared to hold accountable members of the opposition” who have been involved in continuing violence, he said after a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, whose mere presence at the Oslo Forum peace conference was slammed by Israel.
 
Peace talks aimed at ending the five-year conflict have stalled and Damascus has stepped up its military campaign against the Islamic State group and rebels in the second city of Aleppo.
 
“It is very clear that the cessation of hostilities is frayed and at risk and that it is critical for a genuine cessation to be put in place. We know that, we have no illusion,” Kerry said.
 
“This is a critical moment and we are working very. very hard to see if we can in the next week or two come to an agreement that has a capacity to more fully implement a ceasefire across the country and deliver humanitarian access in a way that then provides for a genuine opportunity to bring people to the table and start talking about a transition.”
 
Syria's war has killed more than 280,000 people and displaced millions since it started with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in March 2011.
 
Following his time in Oslo, Kerry will visit Denmark and Greenland