Jan 23 2018

Macron tells Erdoğan of “concern” Turkey’s Syria offensive

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday expressed “concern” over Turkey’s cross-border military operation against Syrian Kurdish militias in a telephone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“While recognising Turkey’s security needs, the President of the Republic told his Turkish counterpart of his concern over the military intervention launched Saturday in the canton of Afrin,” the French presidency was quoted by AFP as saying.

Ankara considers the majority-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) as a terror group, affiliated to the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which conducts attacks against Turkish security forces. Turkey, the United States and the European Union designate the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

Macron stressed the need to combat the Islamic State (IS) and “all jihadists present as a matter of priority” to Erdoğan and expressed concern about the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Syria, “particularly in Idlib province and Eastern Ghouta” according to AFP.

The UN Security Council on Monday discussed the Turkish offensive against the Kurdish militias at France’s urging, AFP reported.

The United States, which has worked closely with the YPG to defeat IS in Syria, also voiced alarm that Turkey’s operation could endanger attempts to end the Syrian civil war.