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US Senators Suggest Prohibition on Weapon Sales to Turkey Over Syria Operation - Bill

© AP Photo / Susan Walsh, FileIn this May 4, 2017, file photo, the U.S. flag flies in front of the Capitol dome on Capitol Hill in Washington
In this May 4, 2017, file photo, the U.S. flag flies in front of the Capitol dome on Capitol Hill in Washington - Sputnik International
The US Senate said earlier on Wednesday that it was finalizing a bipartisan bill that would impose tough sanctions on Ankara for launching a military offensive in Syria against "Kurdish partners".

Among the restrictive measures the US Senators introduced on Wednesday is a visa ban for Turkish leadership - ahead of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's planned visit to Washington - as well as sanctions on foreign entities that cooperate with Turkey in the energy and military sector.

US Senators Lindsey Graham and Chris Van Hollen crafted the bill as a response to Turkey's offensive in northern Syria that started earlier in the day.

The bill also envisages the removal of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) waiver for Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 air defence systems.

"Define Turkey’s S-400 purchase as a significant transaction under section 231 of CAATSA [...] Implementation of sanctions from CAATSA must occur within 180 days from designating [the purchase] as significant", the bill said.

The document also stressed that it "Removes CAATSA waiver and delay provisions under Section 231 for this purchase".

Hours earlier, US President Donald Trump backed a proposal to impose sanctions against Turkey over its military operation in northern Syria.

While the United States has long backed Kurdish forces in Syria as allies in the fight against the Daesh terrorist group, Turkey considers the Kurds to be an arm of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Turkey has classified the PKK as a terrorist organization.

Ankara claims that the operation will clear the border area of Kurdish militias, create a security zone and accommodate Syrian refugees.

Following aerial and artillery attacks on military positions of the Kurdish militia, Turkish forces launched another military stage of their 'Operation Peace Spring' by advancing into the northern territory of the war-torn country.

An estimated 40 commanders of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been killed or injured as a result of attacks by the Turkish Air Force in border areas in northeast Syria earlier on Wednesday, an eyewitness said.

Earlier in the day, Erdogan announced the start of his 'Operation Peace Spring' in northern Syria against Kurdish groups and Daesh terrorists. Erdogan said the goal of the operation is to neutralize terror threats against Turkey and establish a safe zone in the area.

*Daesh (ISIS, ISIL, IS, Islamic State) is a terrorist organization banned in Russia and many other countries.

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