France's Macron meets north Syria delegation, YPG Kurds

Syrian refugee children

Syrian refugee children

France has offered to mediate in the conflict in northern Syria, where Turkey launched a military offensive against Kurdish fighters in January.

The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Towards that end, Turkey and the USA have established working groups to discuss a number of issues, including the stabilization of Manbij, Syria and preventing any undesirable clashes.

Officials of the US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) say a Turkish-led attack on Manbij could encourage thousands of fighters, especially those recruited from the town, to leave battlefields against Islamic State remnants in eastern Syria and move to the west to push back against the Turkish army and its allied rebels military offensive.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan quickly responded to the French statements, saying that Manbij would be the next target of his forces to liberate the city from Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units (YPG).

Also at the AK Party meeting, Erdogan said Turkey had begun preparations to clear parts of northern Syria from "militants", adding it could also make incursions into northwestern Iraq.

Asked whether USA forces had been informed of a decision to withdraw or were preparing to do so, a spokesman for the coalition said he would not comment on future operations.

In Turkey, Erdogan didn't directly address the threat of French military action but insisted that "we don't need a mediator" and warned Macron "don't get into things that are out of your depth".

"We are deeply saddened that the frequent smuggling of migrants, which goes on in our province, has ended in a traffic accident".

Speaking to Reuters after the meeting with Macron, Khaled Eissa, a PYD member who represents the northern Syria region in Paris, said Macron had promised to send more troops to the area, provide humanitarian assistance and push a diplomatic solution.

We hope they will not dare to seek our help when France is filled with terrorists fleeing from Syria and Iraq after being encouraged by French policies. "Who are you to speak of mediation between Turkey and a terrorist organisation?" "I was forced to point it out to him, even if the tone was a bit raised", he said, without giving details.

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