France to continue support for Kurdish-led Syrian rebels against IS
March 30 2018 01:18 PM
Erdogan speaks during a meeting in Ankara
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he was saddened by France's "completely wrong" approach to Syria


France stands behind its support for Kurdish-led Syrian rebels in their fight against Islamic State, a French presidential source said on Friday, a stance that drew a furious response from Turkey.

France shared the United States' view that Turkey's military offensive against the northern Syrian town of Manbij, which is controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces, was unacceptable, the official said.
The official's remarks came after President Emmanuel Macron, under pressure at home for his handling of the Kurdish situation, assured the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) of Paris' support to stabilise the region against Islamic State.
"On the military front, France will continue its fight against Daesh (Islamic State) with the SDF," said the Elysee source, adding that Paris was seeing an Islamic State resurgence in the northeast of Syria.
"France does not foresee any new military operation on the ground in northern Syria outside of the international coalition's fight against Islamic State," the Elysee source added.
A senior Kurdish official late on Thursday said France had promised to send more troops to the area as part of the coalition's efforts, would provide humanitarian assistance and "mediate" between the Kurds and Ankara.
The official did not deny that Paris had offered more military support.
Ankara considers the Kurdish YPG militant group, which forms the largest contingent within the SDF, to be a terrorist organisation.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he was saddened by France's "completely wrong" approach to Syria. Erdogan's spokesman separately said Turkey expected its allies to take a clear stance against terrorism instead of steps that amount to legitimising "terror structures".

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