FRANCE’S MACRON VOWS SUPPORT FOR NORTHERN SYRIANS, KURDISH MILITIA
France’s president on Thursday assured the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) of Paris’ support to stabilise northeastern Syria against ISIS, and Kurdish officials said he had committed to sending troops to the region. Emmanuel Macron has been criticized at home over his response to a Turkish military operation against YPG militants. The group makes up a large portion of the SDF, which have been at the forefront of the U.S.-led coalition’s strategy to defeat the hard-line militants. Macron met earlier for the first time with a delegation that included the YPG, which Turkey is trying to sweep away from its border, its political arm the
PYD, and Christian and Arab officials. “The president paid tribute to the sacrifices and the determining role of the SDF in the fight against Daesh,” Macron’s office said in a statement. “He assured the SDF of France’s support for the stabilization of the security zone in the northeast of Syria, within the framework of an inclusive and balanced governance, to prevent any resurgence of Islamic State.”
Former president Francois Hollande, who originally approved French support for the Kurds, bemoaned on March 23 Macron’s Syria policy, in particular his attitude to the YPG, accusing him of abandoning them. Ankara considers the YPG to be an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long insurgency against the state within Turkey. France, like the United States, has extended arms and training to the YPG-led militia in the fight against ISIS and has dozens of special forces based in the region, which has infuriated Turkey.
Turkey warns France over offer of support for Syrian Kurdish militia France’s promise to back Syrian forces led by a Kurdish militia amounts to support for and legitimization of terrorist groups, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Bekir Bozdag, said on March 29, in response to Macron's vocal support for the SDF. “Those who enter into cooperation and solidarity with terror groups against Turkey will, like the terrorists, become a target of Turkey,” Bozdag wrote on Twitter. “We hope France does not take such an irrational step.”