Greece would join France if it entered Syria war, Greek MP says

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 09.10.2019 23:18
Updated 10.10.2019 01:38

A parliament member of Greece's ruling New Democracy party implied Wednesday that Athens would join France if it entered the conflict in Syria.

"If there is a war involving France, Greece would also join," Angelos Syrigos said while discussing Turkey's operation in northeastern Syria in an interview with a Greek news broadcaster.

Turkey and the Syrian National Army launched their much-awaited operation against Daesh and the People's Protection Units (YPG) terror groups in northern Syria on Wednesday.

France, along with the U.S., has provided support to the YPG in the past, hosting its leaders multiple times in Paris for talks.

French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a senior YPG leader for talks on Tuesday "to show that France stands alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as they are partners in the fight against Daesh and that we are very worried by the possibility of a Turkish operation in Syria," a presidential aide told AFP.

Turkey has said the terrorist group PKK and its Syrian extension the YPG constitute the biggest threat to Syria's future, jeopardizing the country's territorial integrity and unitary structure. Most of northeastern Syria is controlled by the SDF, which is dominated by YPG terrorists.

Turkey has also stressed that supporting terrorists under the pretext of fighting Daesh, as France has done, is unacceptable.

France's European Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin said Wednesday that France, Germany and Britain were working on a joint declaration "which will be extremely clear on the fact that we very strongly condemn" the Turkish campaign.

Turkey plans to resettle 2 million Syrians in a 30-km-wide (19-mi) safe zone to be set up in Syria, stretching from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border, including Manbij. However, the presence of terror groups such as the YPG risk its formation.

Turkey has rid an area of 4,000 square km (1,544 square miles) in Syria of terrorist groups in two separate cross-border operations since 2016. Operation Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch purged the region of the terrorist groups Daesh and the YPG.

The two operations were in line with the country's right to self-defense borne out of international law, U.N. Security Council resolutions, especially No. 1624 (2005), 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014), and under the right to self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, while being respectful of Syria's territorial integrity.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

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