While Turkey’s security concerns and anti terrorist operations near its border are understandable, Ankara must not seek to occupy durably any Syrian territory and must not risk the welfare of refugees in the area of operations, French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday.
Le Drian told the French Parliament that France had informed Turkey that it could not “validate” any Turkish operation that harmed the civilian population and refugees in the area where Turkish military forces are operating inside Syria.
“We understand that Turkey wants to secure its border and fight terrorist groups there,” he stated “But we cannot validate the fact that this is being done to the detriment of civilian populations, given, in addition, that these are often refugees and displaced persons and there are hundreds of thousands of them,” he added.
The Foreign Minister also warned Turkey about any aims to permanently occupy Syrian territory.
“Moreover, if by chance Turkey was carrying out these operations with the aim of territorial occupation or conquest, then they would be totally condemned,” Le Drian affirmed, noting that the above points were clearly made clear to Turkish authorities and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in recent contacts from the French government.
Turkey has bombed areas in Syria around Afrin and has sent tanks and troops in to fight the YPG Kurdish militia, which is says is a terrorist group. Ankara has also said it is considering expanding operations in northern Syria.
The YPG has been a key force in fighting so called Islamic State in the region and has been backed by the US and other Western powers.
Le Drian last week praised the YPG for its role in helping defeat IS and he said Kurdish forces were important in fighting the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq.
Source: Kuwait News Agency