Former French president Francois Hollande speaks with a delegation from Rojava led by Aldar Khalil, co-president of TEV-DEM, (centre right), on Friday. Photo: PYD
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A delegation from Rojava has met with former French President Francois Hollande in Paris on Friday to discuss the situation in Afrin.
Aldar Khalil, co-president of the executive body of the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM) that governs Rojava, Abdul Salam Mustafa, Democratic Union Party (PYD) representative in Europe, and Dr. Khalid Issa, Rojava representative in Paris, sought French assistance to pressure Ankara to end its military operation, the PYD stated.
The Kurds discussed “the aggressive war of the occupying Turkish state on Afrin and its disastrous consequences for defenceless civilians,” the party’s statement read.
They told Hollande that Turkey is carrying out its operation under “false pretenses” and is destabilizing the area.
Hollande “promised that he would do everything in his power to stop this aggression,” the PYD asserted, reporting that he told the Kurdish delegation, “We and the Kurds are friends and allies in the war on terrorism” and the French government and people will not accept the conflict in Afrin.
Hollande has not immediately commented on the meeting.
France has a long history of support for Kurds and is considered a close ally in the Kurdistan Region.
Turkey began its ‘Operation Olive Branch’ one week ago with the stated aim of clearing “terrorists” from its border areas. Ankara considers the PYD and the armed YPG extensions of the PKK, a named terror organization.
The YPG, under the umbrella of the SDF, have been a key ally of the global anti-ISIS coalition fighting the extremist group in northern Syria.
According to UN figures, 323,000 people are living in Afrin and nearby areas under Kurdish control. Of them, 192,000 are in need of humanitarian aid and 125,000 are IDPs displaced from other parts of Syria.