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Macron expresses ‘concern’ over Turkish offensive in Afrin

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, March 23 2018. (Photo by AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed "concern" over Turkey's military intervention in the Syrian enclave of Afrin. 

In a phone call on Friday, the French leader told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that it was vital that humanitarian aid be allowed to reach the area, Macron’s office said in a statement on Saturday.

During the conversation, Macron had emphasized the strategic importance of France’s partnership with Turkey, a NATO ally, particularly in the fight against terrorism.

"Top priority" should be given to the fight against Daesh "which is for France a national security issue," Macron said.

Macron called on "all the actors engaged on the ground to respect without any further delay the cessation of hostilities throughout Syria and to build a durable political solution," the statement added.

Erdogan told Macron that he was disturbed by the "baseless" comments regarding Turkey's offensive in Afrin, according to a Turkish presidential source.

The Turkish president has insisted that the aim of the operation in Syria was to "avert threats to Turkish national security" and "ensure peace" in the region.

Turkey began the operation on January 20 to cleanse the northern Syrian border of the US-backed Kurdish militants of the People's Protection Units (YPG), whom it associates with the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighting for autonomy on Turkish soil.

The Syrian government has already condemned the Turkish offensive against Afrin as an act of aggression. Nearly 300 civilians have lost their lives since the offensive began, according to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

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