France's Macron meets spokeswoman of Kurdish-led Syria forces, says he is 'very worried'

France's Macron meets spokeswoman of Kurdish-led Syria forces, says he is 'very worried'
French President Emmanuel Macron hosted senior Syrian Kurdish official Ilham Ahmed in Paris to show that France 'stands alongside' the Syrian Democratic Forces.
2 min read
09 October, 2019
Emmanuel Macron's office revealed the president met with Kurdish representatives on Monday [Getty]

French President Emmanuel Macron says he is "very worried" at the prospect of a Turkish army operation into areas controlled by Kurdish forces in northern Syria, his office said Wednesday.

Macron met senior Syrian Kurdish official Ilham Ahmed at the Elysee Palace on Monday "to show that France stands alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as they are partners in the fight against Daesh (Islamic State group) and that we are very worried by the possibility of a Turkish operation in Syria", a presidential aide told AFP.

The aide added that Paris would "pass on these messages" to the Turkish authorities.

Macron has on occasion irritated Turkey by hosting in Paris members of the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its political wing, the Syrian Democratic Council.

Ankara insists such groups are merely fronts for the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), an arm of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that has waged a three-and-a-half decade insurgency against Turkey.

Turkey is preparing an offensive into northern Syria as it wants a "safe zone" along northern Syria to act as a buffer against Kurdish forces and also allow the return home of up to two million Syrian refugees.

The Kurdish administration in northeastern Syria called up civilians on Wednesday to defend the region against a feared Turkish assault.

Ankara said Tuesday that it would "shortly" begin an offensive into northern Syria, as it sent more armoured vehicles to the border.

US President Donald Trump has sent mixed messages since a surprise announcement on Sunday that Washington was pulling back 50 to 100 "special operators" from Syria's border with Turkey.

In-depth: Turkey's three-stage plan to capture northern Syria from Kurdish militias, lasting into 2020

The presence of American troops had prevented a long-planned attack on Kurdish forces. 

Trump's move was seen by critics as an abandonment of Kurdish forces which had been the key US ally in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group.

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