French President Francois Hollande gestures as he addresses French ambassadors on August 30, 2016 in Paris. (AFP photo)
French President Francois Hollande has criticized Turkey for expanding its military intervention in Syria, saying the action would escalate the situation in the Arab country.
Speaking to a meeting with the diplomatic corps in Paris on Tuesday, Hollande said Turkey’s military attacks against Syrian Kurds, who have been fighting Daesh and other Takfiri terrorist groups in northern Syria, complicates the situation on the ground.
"These multiple, contradictory interventions carry the risk of a wider conflagration," Hollande said, calling for an "absolutely urgent" halt to fighting.
The French president said Syria “has been living a terrible tragedy for the past five years,” saying escalated fighting around the northwestern city of Aleppo has created a “large-scale humanitarian catastrophe.”
Hollande, however, described as “perfectly understandable” Turkey’s concerns for defending itself against Daesh after a series of attacks in the country and the surging violence hitting its southern borders.
Turkey’s military intervention in Syria began last week after an attack hit a wedding ceremony in the city of Gaziantep near the Syrian border. Over 50 people were killed in the attack, which was blamed on Daesh.
The military operation has also targeted Kurdish fighters of the People's Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara says has links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group.
Sources in northern Syria said at least 40 civilians were killed on Sunday in Turkey's shelling and airstrikes. Ankara rejected the claims, saying its offensive targeted YPG positions that day and killed 25 Kurdish “terrorists.”
Both YPG and Turkey enjoy support of the United States in the alleged fight against Daesh and other Takfiri groups in Syria. The government in Damascus is opposed to the US-backed operations, saying they violate the Arab country’s sovereignty.