France’s foreign minister has accused Turkey and Iran of violating international law in their involvement in the Syrian conflict, and has demanded that all Iranian-backed militias and external forces such as Hezbollah leave the war-torn country.
Speaking on French news channel BFM TV yesterday, Jean-Yves Le Drian claimed that international law “is being violated by Turkey, by the Damascus regime, by Iran and those who are attacking eastern Ghouta and Idlib.”
When asked whether he wanted the withdrawal of Turkish armed forces from Syria, he responded by saying he wants “the withdrawal of all of those who ought not to be in Syria, including Iranian militia, including Hezbollah.”
While Le Drian did not directly call for Turkey to withdraw, he mentioned that defending its borders “does not mean killing civilians” and that the country “should not add war to war”.
The Turkish military intervention codenamed “Operation Olive Branch” started in mid-January, and has focused on combatting Kurdish militant or terrorist groups such as the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the latter of which is backed by the United States.
Since the conflict in Syria began, both Turkey and Iran have been involved in the country but support different sides, with Turkey supporting the Syrian opposition forces and Iran supporting the Syrian Assad regime.
Le Drian also mentioned the use of chemical weapons by the regime after recent air strikes on rebel strongholds, stating that “all the indications that we have show that at the moment chlorine is being used by the Syrian regime.”