France criticizes Turkish military operation in Syria
PARIS - The Associated Press
REUTERS photoFrench President Francois Hollande has criticized Turkey's "contradictory" military operation in Syria and warned Russia not to become a "protagonist" in the war.
In a speech on Aug. 30, Hollande said "multiple, contradictory interventions carry the risk of a general inflammation" of the fighting that has devastated the country.
He said he could understand Turkey's concern about protecting its borders and fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, but criticized Ankara's actions against the Syrian Kurdish militia allied with the U.S.-led coalition who are fighting the extremists. France is part of that coalition.
Hollande urged Russia to cooperate with the U.S.-led coalition and said he would invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to France in October, saying Russia should be "a player in negotiations, not a protagonist in the action."
Hollande said Assad's regime uses Russian military support to carry out bomb attacks on civilians, which "plays into the hands of extremists".
Hollande said "the absolute urgency is a halt to fighting and a return to negotiations." He also called for an "immediate truce" in the city of Aleppo, a main battlefield in Syria's five-year civil war.