Ex-French President Hollande: ‘Terrorism recrudescence’ if Turkey attacks Kurds
Former French President François Hollande on Sunday recalled the “heavy sacrifice” of the Kurds in the anti-extremism struggle in Syria, and warned against a "recrudescence of terrorism" if they are the target of a new Turkish offensive.
The Kurds played a "major role" in the fight against ISIS "with the support of the (international) coalition and therefore of France," he said in a statement issued from a meeting with Khaled Issa, the representative in France of Rojava, the autonomous federation led by the Kurds in Syria.
“The contribution of Syria’s Kurds to the fight against terrorism has been paid for by heavy human sacrifices,” said Hollande.
The former president, who had engaged the French army against ISIS, expressed his fear of a “conflagration of the conflict” following the unilateral decision of Donald Trump to withdraw the 2,000 US troops stationed in Syria and the threat of new Turkish intervention in Kurdish-controlled territories.
“These threats, if followed effectively, would have dramatic consequences for the population, would implicate an ally of France in the fight against Daesh and engender a recrudescence of terrorism beyond even Syria,” he said.
The Kurds have hinted that the fight against ISIS would suffer from a Turkish attack because they would then be forced to disengage from these operations to defend themselves.
President Emmanuel Macron, who succeeded François Hollande in 2017, said that he “deeply regrets” the US decision, saying that an ally “must be reliable.”
France also said it remained engaged in the anti-ISIS coalition despite the announced withdrawal of US troops from Syria.
In addition to air and artillery support, France has deployed special forces in northeastern Syria, the number of which has not been made public.
Turkey has warned Paris of its support for the YPG Kurdish militia in Syria, considered “terrorists” by Ankara for its links with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which has been waging a bloody guerrilla war on Turkish territory since 1984.
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