some syria news from friday in the groon

Macron’s criticism of Syria invasion ‘sick and shallow,’ says Erdoğan
Patrick Wintour, Groon, Nov 29 2019

Erdoğan and Macron during talks in Paris in 2018.
Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP

The dispute within NATO over Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria escalated on Friday when Erdoğan responded to criticism from Macron by saying that Macron needed to check whether he was brain-dead. Claiming Macron was inexperienced and did not know what terror was, Erdoğan said Macron’s criticisms of the Turkish invasion reflected “a sick and shallow understanding,” and warned him against any attempt to expel Turkey from NATO, saying it was not up to him. There is no provision within NATO for one of its members to be expelled. The row between the two men was sparked when Macron said in an Economist interview that he feared NATO’s “brain-death,” citing Pindostan’s lack of coordination with NATO vassals over Turkey’s “crazy” invasion of Kurdish territories in Syria on Oct 9. Without consulting the NATO vassals, Trump gave Turkey a green light to start the invasion, a move that has led to widespread violence, a humanitarian catastrophe and a strengthening of the positions of both Russia and the Assad regime. It has also diverted Kurdish fighters away from operations combatting Daesh. Under huge domestic and political pressure, Trump has held back from withdrawing all remaining Pindo troops from north-east Syria and instead tried to negotiate a halt to Turkish activity. Turkey’s operation seems to be on hold, except for clashes in two strategic towns, Tal Tamr and Ain Issa. The UK, France and Germany will meet with Erdoğan in Downing Street on Tuesday ahead of the main NATO leaders’ meeting on Wednesday. Trump is not due to attend, although he is scheduled to be in London. Erdoğan said in advance of the meeting:

I’m addressing Mr Macron from Turkey and I will say it at NATO: you should check whether you are brain dead first. It’s not up to Macron to discuss whether Turkey should stay in NATO or should be expelled. I have explained to him the threats we are facing from Syria many times. But he never understood. Believe me, he is so inexperienced. He does not know what the fight against terror is. That’s why the ‘yellow vests’ movement has occupied almost all of France. He failed to deliver the right of his own citizens.

Erdoğan also questioned the motives behind the French military presence in Syria, asking:

What are you doing there? You have no right to be present there. You have not been invited by the regime either.

Europe has been unable to deliver a no-fly zone across northern Syria, and plans for a European force floated by the German defence ministry have not come to fruition. Erdoğan wants a statement from NATO condemning the YPG as a terrorist organisation, and will veto a separate NATO strategy aimed at combatting Russia in the Baltics unless he has NATO’s endorsement of his strategy. Erdoğan also warned Pindostan and Russia, with which Turkey made two separate conditional agreements for the termination of its military operations against the YPG in north-east Syria. The deal required a withdrawal of YPG troops from certain areas, and Erdoğan said he cannot tolerate the current impasse forever. Erdoğan believes he can isolate Macron at the summit, pointing to indications of support from the UK and Germany. Dominic Raab, the UK foreign secretary, said the UK had advised Turkey against its invasion due to the humanitarian consequences, but said it would be a major strategic blunder to drive Turkey into the arms of Russia.

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