Macron tells Erdoğan that Syria cease-fire applies to Afrin as well

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French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan walk during a joint press conference on January 5, 2018, at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Erdogan will attempt to reset relations with Europe at talks with Macron in Paris on January 5 that are likely to be overshadowed by human rights concerns. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / LUDOVIC MARIN

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday told his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that a United Nations Security Council call over the weekend for a cease-fire across Syria also applied to Syria’s Afrin region, Reuters reported.

Turkey deployed police special forces to the northwestern Syrian region of Afrin on Monday for a “new battle” in its five-week campaign, known as Operation Olive Branch, against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“The President of the Republic stressed that the humanitarian truce applied to all of Syria, including Afrin, and should be implemented everywhere and by all without any delay to stop the ongoing spiral of violence that could lead to a regional explosion and push away any hope of a political solution,” Macron’s office said in a statement.

Macron told Erdoğan in a phone call on Monday morning that France’s monitoring of humanitarian access and chemical weapons was “total and permanent.”

The Security Council voted unanimously to demand a 30-day truce to allow for aid access and medical evacuations. Yet while Moscow backed adopting the resolution, Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia cast doubt on its feasibility.

Macron also told Erdoğan that he was worried about recent events off the coast of Cyprus, stressing “the need to respect Cyprus’ sovereignty,” the statement said.

Cyprus accused Turkey on Friday of threatening to use force against a drillship chartered by Italian multinational oil and gas company Eni in a standoff over hydrocarbons rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey, which does not have diplomatic relations with Cyprus, claims that certain areas in Cyprus’s offshore maritime zone, known as an EEZ, fall into the jurisdiction of Turkey or the Turkish Cypriots.

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