Ankara has warned its allies to stop supporting PKK-affiliated groups and training their members in northern Syria amid claims of French soldiers deployed in the region and the U.S.'s ongoing support to these groups.
"We don't want to see any soldiers of our allies, including France, giving training to YPG [People's Protection Units] terrorists," Ömer Çelik told reporters, referring to PKK terrorists groups Syrian affiliate, after a meeting in Paris with his French European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by the EU, Turkey, the U.K. and U.S. Whereas Ankara sees the YPG as a terrorist organization, citing strong ideological and organizational association with the PKK, the U.S. and EU do not, and Washington has long been providing weapons to the YPG over Ankara's objections.
Çelik said that Turkey and France have a lot of common points, including Bashar Assad's position, "but we don't want to hear an expression such as claiming that Afrin is occupied."
A statement from French President Emmanuel Macron after a meeting last week with a delegation from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which predominantly led by the YPG, said he hopes "a dialogue can be established between the SDF and Turkey with help from France and the international community." The SDF delegation also told Reuters that France promised to send troops to Manbij to support the SDF during the meeting with Macron.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan later condemned Macron's statements and said Turkey is very saddened by France's "completely wrong" approach to Syria, adding that the remarks suggesting intermediation between Turkey and the SDF, if true, were remarks "far beyond one's limit."
Also, Rezan Gilo, an SDF commander said on Tuesday that French troops along with U.S. forces are in Manbij, Raqqa and other parts of northern Syria under SDF control. He added that NATO countries refute this claim because "they do not want tensions among members."
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