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US is aware of need to protect Kurds – French minister

A Syrian Kurdish woman fighter holds a Kalashnikov assault rifle while marching with others during a demonstration in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli on November 25, 2018, as they mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. (Photo by Delil souleiman / AFP) (Photo credit should read DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Syrian Kurdish woman fighter holds a Kalashnikov assault rifle while marching with others during a demonstration in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli on November 25, 2018, as they mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. (Photo by Delil souleiman / AFP) (Photo credit should read DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States is increasingly aware of the importance of protecting its Kurdish allies even as it withdraws from Syria, French defence minister Florence Parly said on Sunday.

US President Donald Trump said in December that Washington would withdraw the roughly 2,000 US troops it has in Syria, raising fears for the fate of its allies among Kurdish forces who are seen as enemies by neighbouring Turkey.

“This question about the necessity to protect them has been taken into consideration by the Americans,” Parly told a programme hosted by France Info, France Inter and Le Monde newspaper.

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“The Kurds have been the best partners of the coalition,” added Parly, referring to an international coalition of countries, including the United States, fighting Daesh.

Alarmed by the US decision to leave Syria, Kurdish leaders who run much of the north have been urging Russia and its ally Damascus to send forces to shield the border from the threat of a Turkish offensive.

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