PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron met Thursday with a delegation of the Syrian Democratic Forces made up of Kurdish and Arab fighters and promised them support from France, the presidency said in a statement.
Macron acknowledged the “role of the SDF in the fight against Daesh”, another acronym for the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria and Iraq.
The French leader reaffirmed the priority of this battle against “the terrorist threat” and assured the SDF of France’s support, in particular in stabilising the security zone in northeast Syria “to prevent the resurgence of Daesh while awaiting a political solution to the Syrian conflict,” the Elysee said.
The backbone of the SDF is the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia which has been driven out of its stronghold Afrin by a Turkish offensive in Syria.
The offensive began in January against the YPG, which Turkey says is allied with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has been waging an insurgency in its country since 1984 and Ankara considers as a terrorist organisation.
Macron expressed the hope that “a dialogue can be established between the SDF and Turkey with help from France and the international community”, the statement said.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has put the number who have fled Afrin at 250,000, and says dozens of civilians have been killed in the fighting, in addition to around 1,500 Kurdish fighters.