French President Emmanuel Macron hosted on Friday a delegation of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), assuring them of French support for the SDF’s continuing fight against remaining Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists in Syria, France 24 reported. Macron’s reception of the SDF delegation has angered Turkey.
Backed by the US, the Kurdish-dominated SDF has played a crucial role in fighting against ISIS.
However, despite the ISIS’s defeat, the SDF finds the jihadist group still a threat, continuing its attacks in northern Syria, Baghouz, the territory that stretches between the two countries of Syria and Iraq.
ISIS, or Daesh with its Arabic acronym, declared a self-proclaimed “caliphate” in 2014, collapsing since then when it controlled large parts of Syria and Iraq.
Speaking to the SDF representatives at Elysée Palace, Macron declared also financial support to be allocated to “respond to the humanitarian needs and the socio-economic stabilization of civilian populations in Syria.”
On April 1, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian promised one million euros in humanitarian aid for camps, notably Al-Hol camp, housing thousands of displaced people, including women and children, who lived in ISIS-held regions.
“European capitals are all keeping a careful eye on the IS[IS] prisoners held by the SDF after the defeat of the jihadists, given many are dual nationals,” France 24 quoted the French president as saying.
Besides all, Macron underlined the importance of “the security of Turkey and a de-escalation along the Syrian-Turkish border” to France.
In response to the meeting between Macron and the SDF, Turkey condemned France in a statement on Friday, since the SDF is dominated by fighters from the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara views as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). PKK has waged a 35-year-run war against Turkey for a self-ruling Kurdish state in the south-eastern region of the country.
“This attempt [Macron’s reception of the SDF delegation] that aims to provide pseudo-legitimacy to the extensions of the terrorist organization is an utterly wrong step which does not comply with the spirit of alliance,” said Hami Aksoy, spokesperson of the Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry.
The SDF, key ally of the Western coalition in defeating ISIS with its fighting forces on the ground, fears to be alone in the region with Turkey and ISIS, after the surprise withdrawal announcement by the US President Donald Trump in January.