ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – France’s Foreign Minister on Wednesday called on Iranian militias and the Lebanese Hezbollah to withdraw from Syria and accused Turkey, Iran, and the Syrian regime of violating international law in the war-torn country.
While speaking to French BFM TV channel, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France was demanding the withdrawal of “all those who have no business in Syria,” notably Iranian militias and Lebanese Hezbollah which are supporting Bashar al-Assad, Reuters reported.
The French official also accused “the regime in Damascus, Turkey, and Iran” of “violating” international law in Syria. “It is violated by those who attack Eastern Ghouta and those who attack Idlib,” Le Drian said.
He also heavily criticized the Turkish army for their incursion into the northwestern Syrian Kurdish-held enclave in Afrin, which has now entered its third week. Le Drian stated he “understood” Ankara wishes to “secure its borders, but,” he said in a scathing comment, “securing borders does not mean killing civilians – that’s reprehensible.”
“Turkey should not add war to war,” the French Minister warned. His comments come ahead of his upcoming visit to Tehran in March.
“It is time for the process that was initiated in Geneva – that of the United Nations – to be seriously implemented,” Le Drian stressed.
US officials and experts have also warned of inroads made by Russia and Iran in Syria, creating further instability in the region, a reality now exacerbated by the Turkish-led offensive against their allies on the ground, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin.
France’s Foreign Minister also took the opportunity to express his government’s support for the Kurds, reminding of the “close ties of friendship and esteem” that bonds France to the embattled US-backed Kurds.
“The Kurds have been absolutely exemplary and critical in the liberation of Raqqa. The Peshmerga have played a very significant role,” in the fight against the Islamic State (IS), the top French diplomat said.
The Peshmerga forces have often been labeled one of the most effective ground troops in defeating IS.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany