First Published: 2018-01-21

France presses Turkey to end offensive against Kurds
French Defence Minister urges Ankara to end operation against Syrian Kurdish militia, says priority is ‘fight against terrorism’.
Middle East Online

Operation "Olive Branch", in the Afrin region, is Turkey's second major incursion into Syria

PARIS - French Defence Minister Florence Parly on Sunday pressed Turkey to stop its offensive against Kurdish militia fighting in Syria, saying the fighters were a key ally against terrorism in the war-torn country.

"This fighting... must stop," Parly told France 3 television, adding that the Turkish offensive could "deter Kurdish forces who are at the side" of the international coalition battling jihadists in Syria.

Her comments came as Turkish ground troops entered northern Syria on Sunday to push an offensive against the Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers a terror group.

But Parly said the Kurdish militants had been a crucial ally in fighting extremists such as the Islamic State group.

"Our priority is the fight against terrorism," Parly said.

"As a result, anything that could deter the fighters of this battle is a bad thing."

She added: "What is essential is the fight against terrorism and all this fighting, notably that which is taking place in a terrible fashion near Idlib and elsewhere, must stop."

The Turkish campaign risks further increasing tensions with NATO allies including the United States, which has supported the YPG in the fight against IS jihadists.

Operation "Olive Branch", in the Afrin region, is Turkey's second major incursion into Syria during the seven-year civil war.

The army said IS was also being targeted in this operation although it no longer has any major presence in the Afrin area.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had repeatedly vowed that Turkey would root out the "nests of terror" in Syria of the YPG, which Ankara accuses of being the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The PKK, which has waged a rebellion in the Turkish southeast for more than three decades, is regarded as a terror group not just by Ankara but also its Western allies.

 

More strikes hit E. Ghouta as UN delays truce vote

Russia pours cold water on UN bid to condemn Iran over missiles to Yemen

Egypt presidential race starts with Sisi likely to win

Saudi Arabia to boost entertainment in next decade

Blatter supports Morocco bid for 2026 World Cup

Turkey says US embassy Jerusalem opening in May 'extremely worrying'

Lebanon says both suspects in Kuwait murder of Filipina maid held

38 dead in Mogadishu car bombings

Morocco police arrests prominent newspaper publisher

Syria regime continues to pound Ghouta as world stutters

UN rights commission wants S.Sudan war crimes charges

Iran grounds airline's ATR planes after crash

Turkey summons Dutch diplomat over Armenian 'genocide' vote

Turkey navy threatens to engage Italian drillship near Cyprus

Iran police shoving headscarf protester sparks social media storm

UN Security Council to vote Friday on Syria ceasefire

Dubai says Djibouti illegally seized African port

Dutch parliament recognises 1915 Armenian massacre as genocide

Heavily bombarded Eastern Ghouta awaits UN resolution

Russia says Syria rebels rejected offer to evacuate E. Ghouta

UN diplomats press for Syria ceasefire without Russia veto

Iranian minister’s presence at UN rights meeting angers critics

Iran warns it will leave nuke deal if banks cannot do business

Qatar to plant thousands of trees to ‘beautify’ World Cup venues

Pro-Kurdish party says Turkey lying about 'no civilian deaths' in Afrin

African migrants protest Israeli detention policy

Egypt sentences 21 to death for planning attacks

Israeli handball teams in Qatar spark furious outcry from locals

UN report highlights S.Sudan journalist treatment

Palestinian dies after being shot by Israeli soldiers

Gulf states urge Syria to end Ghouta violence

Wanted Bahraini militants die at sea en route to Iran

Iran's Ahmadinejad calls for immediate free elections

Merkel calls for end to 'massacre' in Syria

Iraq urges FIFA to lift ban on hosting internationals

Carnage of Ghouta's bombs breaking families

Blockaded Gaza Strip forced to pump sewage into sea

African migrants start hunger strike over Israel expulsion

UN chief 'deeply alarmed' by Eastern Ghouta violence

Three militiamen killed in Libya car bomb attack

Russia denies ‘groundless’ accusations of role in Ghouta killings

Turkey says whoever helps YPG is 'legitimate target'

Morocco dismantles IS-linked terrorist cell

Turkey urged to end gas standoff with Cyprus

PKK attack near Iraq kills 2 Turkish soldiers