Syrians flee shelling by Turkish forces in Ras al Ayn, northeast Syria, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Wednesday the start of a Turkish military operation against Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)

Bipartisan Senate bill could block military sales to Turkey

October 09, 2019 - 1:03 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — A sponsor of an emerging bipartisan Senate bill that would punish Turkey for its invasion of northern Syria says the measure could immediately block U.S. arms sales to Turkey.

Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland tells The Associated Press that he and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are also discussing penalizing other countries that sell weapons to Turkey. He says it could also apply sanctions of some senior Turkish officials.

Van Hollen says the sanctions would be lifted when Turkey withdraws its forces.

Turkey launched air and ground assaults into northern Syria against Kurdish forces Wednesday after President Donald Trump pulled U.S. troops from the area.

Graham is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.