French PM questions US hesitations over northeast Syria

PM Edouard Philippe said Paris had not wavered on its policy unlike Washington. (AFP)

France’s prime minister defended his country’s policy in northeastern Syria on Tuesday saying that, unlike US hesitations, Paris’ priority remained to defeat ISIS and preserve Kurdish-led forces fighting the terrorist organization.

The US decision to withdraw from northeastern Syria leaving Turkey to launch an offensive against Kurdish militants in the region has rattled allies, including France, one of Washington’s main partners in the US-led coalition fighting ISIS.

Responding in parliament to criticism of the French government from some opposition lawmakers for not publicly defending Kurdish forces in the face of a possible Turkish offensive, Edouard Philippe said Paris had not wavered on its policy unlike Washington.

“The fight against Daesh (ISIS) is not over and continues alongside the (Kurdish-led) Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF),” Phillipe told lawmakers.

“Saying things with constancy and coherence is preferable to reacting to obvious hesitations from certain players notably our American friends,” Philippe said, alluding to differences in the US administration.

President Donald Trump denied on Tuesday that he had abandoned the Kurdish forces. However, he praised Turkey as a trade partner, in a softening of tone hours after threatening Ankara’s economy if it acted “off limits” in Syria.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:56 - GMT 06:56
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