Foreign cement company providing material for YPG fortifications – Islamist newspaper

The tunnels and walls used by Kurdish militants in their defence of Afrin are being produced with cement provided by a foreign-owned factory, Islamist newspaper Yeni Şafak said.

The newspaper said that the factory, in the majority-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG)-controlled area of Manbij, was owned by Lafarge, a former French building materials conglomerate.

Lafarge merged with Swiss giant Holcim in 2015 to form LafargeHolcim, a company with its headquarters in the town of Jona in Switzerland.

“France is still operating a cement factory in the Sunaym region of Manbij under Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) occupation,” Yeni Şafak said.

The PKK – the Turkish sister-group of the Syrian Kurdish militant YPG, whose political arm is the Democratic Union Party (PYD) – has been involved in a long-running conflict with the Turkish state.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 10 to push the YPG out of the area under their control near Afrin in northwest Syria.

So far, Turkish Armed Forces say they have killed 1,141 militants in the area.

“The United States sent 5,000 trucks and 2,000 cargo planes full of arms and ammunition to the PKK, and France has supported it with cement for its arms depots and tunnel walls,” Yeni Şafak said.

“The French Lafarge previously provided support for the Islamic State (ISIS) and now is providing it to the PKK/PYD. The French, who have taken on the role of training the Syrian branches of that terrorist organisation, are accusing Turkey of ‘violating international law’ in Operation Olive Branch.”

On Wednesday, Turkey’s EU Minister Ömer Çelik responded to a statement by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian which said that Turkey had hit civilians and violated international law in Afrin, Yeni Şafak said.

“Turkey's fight against terrorism is fully in line with international law. The ones who violate law and commit crimes are the ones who provide arms to the PYD/YPG,” Çelik said.