French President warns Turkey over military operation on Afrin
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – French President Emmanuel Macron warned Ankara that its military offensive against the Kurdish fighters in northern Syria should not be an excuse to invade the country.
Turkey last week launched a military operation on the Kurdish-held canton of Afrin in northwestern Syria, also known as Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) which Ankara designates a ‘terrorist organization’ for their apparent links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The PKK has waged guerrilla warfare in Kurdish populated areas in southeastern of Turkey against the Turkish government for the past three decades.
The NATO ally’s offensive includes both air and ground combat, opening a new front in the seven-year-old civil war in Syria.
“If it turns out that this operation takes a turn other than to fight a potential terrorist threat to the Turkish border and becomes an invasion operation, (then) this becomes a real problem for us,” Macron asserted in an interview with French news outlet Le Figaro on Wednesday.
Macron said he would discuss the issue again with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and that the nature of the operation meant there should be talks between European nations, but also more widely, among NATO allies.
Both the US and France have armed the YPG over the past few years in the fight against the Islamic State (IS). The group has been labeled one of the effective forces in defeating the extremist threat in the region.
Editing by Nadia Riva