After Turkey’s anger, France’s Macron plays down Syria warning

After Turkey’s anger, France’s Macron plays down Syria warning

ANKARA/TUNIS – Reuters
After Turkey’s anger, France’s Macron plays down Syria warning

French President Emmanuel Macron has played down cautionary remarks he made about Turkey’s operation against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria following a strong reaction from after.

Macron on Jan. 31 said Turkey’s operation in the Afrin region of Syria should not become an “excuse to invade Syria” and said he wanted Ankara to coordinate its action with its allies.

Turkey launched the air and ground offensive nearly two weeks ago to target the YPG, which is considers a terrorist group for its links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“We consider a country like France giving us reminders about an operation we are carrying out in accordance with international laws to be insults,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Feb. 1.

“We are using our right to self-defense, this is in line with U.N. Security Council decisions and not an invasion. They shouldn’t be two-faced,” he said,

Speaking in Tunis, Macron nuanced his earlier remarks.

“I note that the reaction of the Turkish foreign minister probably means that [the operation] is nothing more than to secure the border and that Turkey does not intend to go further than the positions which it occupies today or to stay in the region in the long-term,” he told a news conference.

France, like the United States, has extended arms and training to the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria, angering Turkey.

Macron, Turkey, Syria