France denies troop moves in Syria, as Turkey lashes out

02 April, 2018, 01:02 | Author: Charlene Valdez
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While U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday the U.S. would be pulling out of Syria "very soon", France insists that Islamic State extremists remain a threat to global security and wants the stay until they are vanquished.

During the meeting with the delegation, Macron acknowledged the "role of the SDF in the fight against Daesh", an Arabic acronym for IS, the Elysee said.

French President Emmanuel Macron met with representatives of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Thursday.

Expanding Turkey's military campaign into the much larger Kurdish-held territory further east, which President Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to do, would risk confrontation between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies who have been at loggerheads over the USA policy in Syria and other issues.

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A Pentagon plan to forge a "border security force" in northern Syria triggered the Turkish military operation targeting the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in January.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly warned that Turkey could extend the offensive to Manbij, which is east of Afrin.

A total of 3,820 militants have been "neutralized" since the start of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin region, the Turkish military said in a statement on March 31.

She told the journalist the Turkish operation has never affected the village and only the hilltops behind it, adding that Turkish soldiers have already assured villagers that they will not be harmed and they are only here for observation purposes.

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Trump's remark on Thursday that the United States would be "coming out of Syria" appeared to take his own administration by surprise.

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 USA -led coalition.

"We have no need for mediation", Erdogan said. "I was forced to point it out to him, even if the tone was a bit raised", he said, without giving details. "We hope France does not take such an irrational step". "It is not anyone's place to portray our armed forces as something we do not find acceptable".

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