Middle East CRISIS: France issues warning to Turkey as Erdogan’s tanks roll into Syria

Sunday, January 21, 2018
By Paul Martin

FRANCE has called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council over Syria after Turkish tanks invaded the nation.

Sun, Jan 21, 2018

The incursion into northern Syria’s Afrin province on Sunday prompted outrage from French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Mr Le Drian said on his Twitter feed: “Ghouta, Idlib, Afrin – France asks for an urgent meeting of the Security Council.”

He added that he had spoken with his Turkish counterpart on Sunday morning.

Turkish ground forces pushed into northern Syria’s Afrin province on Sunday, the army said, after Turkey launched artillery and air strikes on a US-backed Kurdish militia it aims to sweep from its border.

It launched operation “Olive Branch” seeking to oust from the Afrin region of northern Syria the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) which Ankara considers a terror group.

But the campaign risks further increasing tensions with Turkey’s NATO ally the United States – which has supported the YPG in the fight against Islamic State jihadists — and also needs at least the tacit support of Russia to succeed.

Mr Le Drian said France had asked Turkey to act with restraint in Syria after speaking by phone with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

He added: “France calls on Turkish authorities to act with restraint in a difficult context, with the humanitarian situation deteriorating in several regions of Syria as a consequence of the military actions of the Damascus regime and its allies.”

Mr Le Drian also said that France condemned indiscriminate bombing by the Syrian regime in Idlib province and asked for the immediate access of humanitarian aid to eastern Ghouta, where 400,000 citizens are in a critical situation.

Idlib and Eastern Ghouta were two of four “de-escalation zones” agreed last year by rebel backer Turkey and regime allies Iran and Russia.

He said: “It is important that everything be done for the ceasefires to be applied very soon and that a political solution finally be embarked upon.”

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