French troops in Syria would amount to invasion: Turkey

Turkey hands out 'warnings' to US Iraq Kurds Cyprus and Greece

Turkey hands out 'warnings' to US Iraq Kurds Cyprus and Greece

France, as well as Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally the United States, sees the SDF as a key force in the fight against Islamic State jihadists in Syria.

Turkey's National Security Council, chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a statement on Wednesday, threatened that Ankara "will take action" if the YPG fighters do not withdraw immediately from the region.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK-ISIL terrorists from Afrin. The U.S. government is now sending very carefully calibrated signals to Turkey that U.S. forces in Manbij are not looking for a fight, but they are not leaving, either. Previous year it compared the German and Dutch authorities to Nazis for restricting pro-Erdogan demonstrations during a campaign for a referendum to give him greater powers.

Turkey says the YPG is a terrorist organization, alleging the group is linked to Kurdish separatists inside Turkey, known as the PKK, which was designated a terror organization by both the USA and the EU.

Macron's remarks also drew an angry reaction from Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, who said Friday that the promise to back the Kurds amounts to support for and legitimization of terrorist groups.

Ankara considers the YPG to be an extension of the Turkey-based Kurdish militant group PKK, which for decades has fought a guerrilla war against the Turkish government.

"Those who enter into cooperation and solidarity with terror groups against Turkey ... will, like the terrorists, become a target of Turkey".

But Macron's office on Friday said it was not planning any new military operation on the ground in northern Syria outside the global coalition against IS.

The United States has 2,000 troops in SDF-held territory, and France also has some troops there as part of the coalition.

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Much of the Arabian Peninsula country's infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories, has been reduced to rubble due to the war.

Violence generally escalates as spring arrives in Turkey's mountainous southeast, which is mainly Kurdish.

Turkish forces drove the YPG from the northwestern Syrian town of Afrin almost two weeks ago and Erdogan says Ankara is preparing to extend operations along hundreds of miles of border, including areas where the American forces are deployed. Ankara, meanwhile, has said it expects its allies to move their troops out of the way of a Turkish advance. "Let the other people take care of it now", President Donald Trump said in a speech on Thursday.

The presidential Palace of the Elysée issued a statement in which he clarified that the French country will only remain active in the region in the framework of the global coalition against the Islamic State. The Pentagon then said the USA troops returned fire but there were no casualties on either side.

A Kurdish official said Macron had pledged to send troops to the northeastern region controlled by the SDF.

The French presidency did not confirm that Macron had pledged more troops, but the presidential source said France could bolster its military intervention in Syria "within the existing framework" of the US -led coalition.

The SDF delegation has already had a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

"Who are you to mediate between Turkey and a terror group?"

Macron said he hoped this could be set up with help from Paris and the worldwide community. We hope they will not dare to seek our help when France is filled with terrorists fleeing from Syria and Iraq after being encouraged by French policies.

Macron's office insisted it wants to maintain dialogue with Turkey. "I was forced to point it out to him, even if the tone was a bit raised", he said, without giving details. "It is not anyone's place to portray our armed forces as something we do not find acceptable".

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