ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Former President of France Francois Hollande has called for no-fly zones over the besieged Kurdish enclave of Afrin under attack by Turkey and the eastern Ghouta suburb in the Syrian capital of Damascus.
“If I supported the Kurds as part of the coalition, it was not to leave them in the situation they are [in] now,” Hollande said in a Monday-published interview with Le Monde newspaper.
“It is not possible to celebrate the liberation of parts of Syria and to let whole populations die which we know played a determining role in arriving at this result,” the former French leader said.
His administration dispatched warplanes and special forces to the aid of Syrian Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State (IS).
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, like the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga in Iraq, have been the backbone of the US-led International Coalition in bringing IS’ self-declared caliphate to the point of total territorial destruction.
However, Ankara’s hostile policy to the YPG on the grounds they are “terrorists” and its ongoing invasion to capture the northwestern Afrin region has created deep divisions within NATO, the Western military alliance Turkey is a member of for well over half a century.
Hollande said he was breaking his silence out of “solidarity” with the suffering of the Kurds of Afrin resisting the Turkish army and its Islamist-dominated Free Syrian Army (FSA) proxies.
Turkish airstrikes have killed and wounded hundreds, with tens of thousands of others displaced.
Hollande underscored the fact that his successor, Emmanuel Macron, keeps supporting the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Macron, along with officials from the US, has called on his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to observe a UN truce mandated last month.
Washington and other Western capitals have done little else to stop the Turkish assault, with NATO expressing sympathies for Ankara’s “concerns.”
Hollande criticized Russia and Turkey for adding to the seven-year-long war in Syria.
Syrian government forces, supported by Moscow, are bombarding and staging an offensive on the rebel-held eastern Ghouta.
As US President Donald Trump’s position remained unclear, it was up to Europe and NATO to react to Russia’s actions in the Middle East, said the former President.
“By allowing Ankara to bomb our Kurdish allies in Syria, Moscow is also pushing for a division of NATO,” he said. “Russia has been rearming for several years, and if it is threatening, it must be threatened.”
The former head of state harshly attacked Turkey.
“Who is this ally to whom [we] sell arms and who strikes civilian populations with his warplanes?” Hollande asked.
“Who is this Turkish ally who strikes our own allies with the help of jihadist groups on the ground.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany