France urges Turkey to act with restraint on Syria

Turkey – Syria – Conversation between M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, and Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey – Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic

Paris, 24 January 2018

The French President spoke about Syria in a telephone conversation with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey.

He emphasized France’s concern about the serious deterioration in the humanitarian situation, particularly in Idlib Governorate and Eastern Ghouta. The immediate opening-up of humanitarian access to civilians must remain an absolute priority.

Taking into account Turkey’s security imperatives, the French President expressed to his Turkish counterpart his concern following the military intervention launched on Saturday in the district of Afrin.

President Emmanuel Macron reiterated the need, firstly to fight Daesh [so-called ISIL] and all the opposing jihadist forces as a matter of priority, secondly to ensure essential humanitarian conditions for civilians, and finally to promote on the ground the conditions for a lasting political solution./.

Syria – Turkey – Replies by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to questions to the government in the National Assembly (excerpts)

Paris, 24 January 2018

(Questions on the Turkish intervention in Syria)


For a long time there’s been great mutual respect between France and the Kurdish people. And for a long time, there have also been divisions within the Kurdish community. There are the Kurds of Iran; there’s Iraqi Kurdistan, itself divided in two – between supporters of Mr Barzani and Mr Talabani respectively – and there are the Syrian Kurds of the PYD, who you’ve just mentioned. And there’s the PKK.

So when we talk about the Kurds, we must include this diversity; there’s no single entity. In view of this, I’d like to tell you three things.

Firstly, we owe a very strong debt of gratitude to the Peshmergas, who helped the coalition liberate Iraq from Daesh [so-called ISIL], particularly by retaking the city of Mosul.

There’s also a very strong appreciation of what’s been done by Commander Mazlum’s forces throughout north-eastern Syria. The fighting is continuing and we’re supporting them.

But at the same time there’s also total opposition to the PKK, which is a terrorist organization recognized as such by France and the European Union. And we maintain this stance.

And thirdly, a political solution to the crisis in the Middle East, Iraq and Syria will have to take into account, in an inclusive way, the existence of Kurdish communities, who must be respected. (…)

Four days ago, Turkey embarked on a military operation in Afrin District, where several hundred thousand people live.

The French President spoke to President Erdogan yesterday to discuss the situation. (…)

I myself had the opportunity to talk about the subject to my Turkish colleague yesterday, here in Paris, and on Sunday over the telephone, to express to him our concerns.

In view of this, we must realize that the humanitarian situation in Syria is deteriorating significantly, in Afrin District, Idlib Governorate and Eastern Ghouta, with other players and the regime surrounding the opposition forces.

At the same time, we’re facing an uncertain political situation, because today there are no political prospects on the horizon, except – and it’s the last hope – the meeting to be held in Vienna tomorrow, under the aegis of the United Nations, where all the parties involved will be present and where I hope an agenda for peace can be sketched out./.

Turkey – Syria – Telephone conversation between M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and his Turkish counterpart, Mr Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu – Statement by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Deputy Spokesperson

Paris, 21 January 2018

The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, had a telephone conversation this morning with his Turkish counterpart, Mr Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. The two ministers discussed the situation in Syria, and more specifically developments under way in Afrin, Idlib and Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus.

France is mindful of Turkey’s security, its territory and its borders. It calls on the Turkish authorities to act with restraint, in a difficult context where the humanitarian situation is deteriorating in several regions of Syria as a result of the military operations being conducted there by the Damascus regime and its allies. It also emphasizes the paramount importance of carrying through the mission of the Global Coalition against Daesh [so-called ISIL] and recalls the need to create the necessary conditions on the ground to stabilize Syria and bring about a lasting political solution – which alone is capable of guaranteeing the security of both the Syrian people and Syria’s neighbours.

In this context, France stresses the need for humanitarian law to be respected, which is an obligation for all parties. It thus utterly condemns the indiscriminate bombing which targets, among other things, residential areas and medical infrastructure, and which the Syrian regime has carried out in the past few weeks in Idlib Governorate. It asks for humanitarian access to be opened up immediately to Eastern Ghouta, where 400,000 besieged civilians are in a critical situation.

France calls on the Astana agreement’s guarantor powers to ensure that the de-escalation zones established in that framework in Idlib, northern Homs Governorate, the Ghouta region and south-west Syria are respected. Given recent developments on the ground, it is asking for the Security Council to hold an urgent meeting on the situation in Syria./.

Published on 09/02/2018

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