Turkey Urges France to Refrain From Reckless Steps in Syria – Defense Minister
Ankara calls on France not to take reckless steps in Syria, Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said.
“We hope that France would not take such a reckless step,” Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said as quoted by the Anadolu news agency.
According to the minister, at the moment there is no need to deploy foreign troops in Syria because the threat posed by the Daesh terrorist group has significantly decreased.
“In other words, if France tries to deploy their troops in northern Syria, it will violate international law. The activities of France could be considered as an attempt to occupy the Syrian territories,” the Turkish official stated.
On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron met with a Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) delegation and proclaimed support for them. The French president also expressed hope for a dialogue between Turkey and SDF mediated by France and the international community. French media reported that Paris had decided to help the Kurdish militia protect the Syrian city of Manbij.
On March 18, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Ankara had established full control over Afrin. The Turkish leader, however, has said on multiple occasions that the Turkish operation in northern Syria would not end with the seizure of Afrin and the campaign would be expanded to other parts of the war-torn country, including Manbij.
On January 20, Ankara, jointly with the opposition Free Syrian Army forces, launched Operation Olive Branch in Syrian northern district of Afrin in order to “clear” Turkey’s border from Kurdish armed groups, which are viewed as a terrorist threat.