France says it is not planning unilateral Syria operation
PARIS – Agence France Presse
France said on March 30 it is not planning a unilateral military operation in Syria outside the international coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) after senior Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) officials claimed Paris was planning to send troops.
“France is not planning any new military operation on the ground in northern Syria outside the international coalition against ISIL,” President Emmanuel Macron’s office said in a statement.
“On the military front, France will continue its fight against ISIL with the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces],” said the Elysee source, adding that Paris had seen an ISIL resurgence in the northeast of Syria.
Macron met with a delegation from the SDF on March 29. Afterwards, an official of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) Asya Abdullah told reporters France was planning on sending “new French troops to Manbij.”
“The cooperation will be reinforced,” she said.
The PYD and its armed wing People’s Protection Units (YPG) are part of the SDF. The SDF is composed of Arab and Kurdish militants though it is mostly comprised of militants from the YPG forces.
“France is going to reinforce its military presence,” said Khaled Issa, a PYD representative in France.
Ankara launched an air and ground offensive in Syria’s northwestern Afrin district on Jan. 20 to clear YPG militants from the region.