French President Emmanuel Macron gestures during a press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on December 17, 2018. Photo: Benoit Tessier/AFP
PARIS - Two top political leaders of the Syrian Kurdish alliance battling the Islamic State group are to visit Paris on Friday for talks on the planned US military withdrawal from Syria, an alliance representative said.
"The two co-chairs of the Syrian Democratic Council (MSD) Riad Darar and Ilham Ahmed are expected in Paris," said Khaled Issa, referring to the political arm of the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
French President Emmanuel Macron's office confirmed that Kurdish representatives would hold talks in Paris, though it was not immediately known at what level.
The discussions will focus on Turkish threats to intervene against the Kurdish militia that dominates the Western-backed SDF, US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw all 2,000 US soldiers from Syria, and talks on ending the war, Issa said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said he was determined to root out Kurdish fighters from northern Syria, which borders on Turkey, if their US sponsors failed to convince them to withdraw of their own accord.
"Erdogan is going to do everything possible to occupy this region, putting our population in danger but also the security of Europe," Khaled Issa said.
Syrian Kurdish forces said Thursday they would stop fighting the Islamic State in eastern Syria if they come under Turkish attack.
France, which is part of the US-led coalition that has been working with the SDF to try flush ISIS out of Syria, "shares the concern of the Kurdish-Arab forces", an aide to Macron said, referring to a possible Turkish offensive.
France wants "clarifications" from Washington on how and when US troops will be withdrawn from Syria, the aide added.
The future of the international anti-ISIS coalition can only be decided once "we know what the calendar and terms" of the withdrawal is, the aide added.
Macron telephoned Trump on Tuesday after hearing he was about to announce the withdrawal, the advisor said.
He urged him "not to give up", adding that the fight against Islamic State was not over and that he needed to take into account "the consequences on our partners on the ground."