Turkey warns France of bolstering military presence in Syria

02 April, 2018, 01:05 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Life gradually returns to the city of Afrin – March 22. 2018

Col. Veale of the USA military refused to disclose the number of US special operations troops recently deployed to the area, but said "the level of force protection is commensurate to the threat".

Koseoglu added that Turkish officials see such mediation efforts "as an attempt to legitimise the PKK and YPG under the name of SDF in terms of fighting against ISIL".

Tensions were raised after French President Emmanuel Macron met a delegation of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Thursday, an alliance made up of Kurdish and Arab fighters.

Some members of the group evoked an eventual intervention by France in northern Syria to support them in the midst of the military operation launched by Turkey in the area.

The United States has 2,000 troops in SDF-held territory, and France also has some troops there as part of the coalition.

This was a bit further than the Macron government was willing to go in its own public statements, but the French president's office did refute Turkey's claims that the Kurds of the SDF are in league with the PKK, and spoke of Macron's eagerness to help open a dialogue between Turks and Syrian Kurds.


The Turkish military and its allied rebels this month captured the Kurdish town of Afrin in northwest Syria from the YPG in an operation code named Operation Olive Branch, that started on January 20. Ankara said that Turkey would conduct a military operation similar to the one conducted in other regions in northern Syria if the requirement is ignored.

Turkey considers the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), active in Syria, and its armed wing the YPG to be "terrorist groups" with ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a bloody armed rebellion for decades.

Najim Muhammad, the deputy commander of the Manbij Military Council, said the US -led coalition has assured them it will protect the town.

Turkish forces continue to search for more IEDs and landmines to make possible the safe return of people to their homes, the sources added. "We hope France does not take such an irrational step".

"Who are you to mediate between Turkey and a terror group?" "When he kept speaking so strangely-even though it may have been at a high frequency - I had to say something because it's not anyone's place to describe our military forces in an unacceptable fashion", Erdogan explained.

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