French President Emmanuel Macron giving a speech in Paris on Friday. Photo: Etienne Laurent/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – France is ready to send troops to Manbij to reinforce American forces in the city and block any possible Turkish offensive, President Emmanuel Macron told a visiting delegation from Rojava, according to French media.
“An Arab, Kurdish and Christian delegation from Syria is being received at the Elysee to discuss the situation in Afrin and northern Syria,” a Rojava office announced on Twitter, Reuters reported. “Important announcements are expected from France.”
The Rojava delegation included co-chair of the ruling TEV-DEM coalition Asya Abdullah, co-chair of Afrin’s executive council Hevin Reshid, SDF’s Redur Khalil, YPJ spokesperson Nesrin Abdullah, and Rojava’s representative in France Khalid Issa, according to ANF.
Macron assured the Kurdish delegation that French forces would be deployed to Manbij “very quickly,” Le Parisien reported, citing an unnamed Kurdish representative.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was informed of the visit by France’s ambassador in Ankara, Le Parisien reported, noting that this was the first visit of Rojava officials to Elysee.
There have been no immediate comments from Ankara or Paris.
Erdogan has threatened to extend its military offensive in northern Syria eastward across Rojava, beginning with Manbij. Ankara considers the ruling Kurdish party and armed forces in northern Syria to be branches of the PKK, a named terror organization.
US forces have an outpost in Manbij, which is under the control of the Kurdish-backed Manbij Military Council. Responding to Turkey’s threats, American officials have said they have no intention of leaving Manbij.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday, however, stated that the US will leave Syria “very soon,” saying, “We’re knocking the hell out of ISIS.”
US officials had earlier confirmed that the war against ISIS in eastern Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province had stalled after Kurdish forces departed the battlefield to redeploy to Afrin.