ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday expressed his “concern” over Turkey’s military operation in Syrian Kurdistan’s Afrin region, calling on his Turkish counterpart to allow humanitarian aid to reach the area.
According to a statement released by the French President’s office, Macron had spoken with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the phone on Friday.
During their conversation, the French President reiterated his country’s “very clear expression of concern over the launch of the Turkish military intervention in Afrin and the need to allow full access to humanitarian aid to civilian populations.”
He also stressed the “strategic importance of our partnership with Turkey, particularly in the fight against terrorism and in all other regional cities,” adding that the war against the Islamic State (IS) was a “top priority” and a “national security issue” for France.
Turkish and Syrian rebel forces overtook the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin last week where they declared full control following a nearly two-month long offensive against the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Ankara, who launched its military incursion on Jan. 20, claimed the operation was meant to secure its borders of YPG forces which it argues are an offshoot of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), thus “terrorists.”
In February, Macron had called Erdogan to remind him that a UN Security Council resolution, which demanded a 30-day truce across Syria, applied to Ankara’s operation in the Kurdish-held enclave.
In response, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry released a lengthy, strong-worded statement criticizing Paris’ calls for Ankara to adhere to the ceasefire.
In Saturday’s statement, Macron called on “all the actors engaged on the ground to respect without any further delay the cessation of hostilities throughout Syria and to build a durable political solution.”