Turkey on Friday rejected French President Emmanuel Macron’s offer to mediate in the Syrian conflict. Macron had met a delegation of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which included Kurdish and Arab fighters, on Thursday and expressed hopes of a dialogue between Turkey and the militia.
“The president assured the Syrian Democratic Forces of France’s support for the stabilisation of the security zone in the north east of Syria, within the framework of an inclusive and balanced governance, to prevent any resurgence of the Islamic State,” Macron’s office said in a statement.
However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter that the country “rejects as frivolous any efforts to suggest ‘dialogue’, ‘contact’ or ‘mediation’ between Turkey and those terrorist organisations”.
“Instead of taking steps that could be construed as legitimising terrorist organisations, the countries we consider friends and allies must take a clear stand against all forms of terrorism,” Kalin said in a rebuff to Macron. “Different names and disguises cannot hide the true identity of terrorist organisations.”
Ankara claims that the Syrian-Kurdish People’s Protection Units militia, or YPG militants, are an extension of an insurgent group in Turkey. It has vowed to crush the “terror corridor” of YPG-controlled territory along Turkey’s southern border with Syria.
Turkey had launched an offensive against the YPG in January. The United States and France back the YPG as a partner in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria.
The YPG has been driven out its stronghold Afrin in Syria by Turkey. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that nearly 250,000 people have fled Afrin, while dozens of civilians and Kurdish fighters have been killed in the war, AFP reported.