French special forces have installed six artillery batteries in an area held by People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants near Syria’s border with Iraq, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, citing local sources.
The sources said French troops have set up artillery batteries in the north of Baguz village in Deir ez-Zor province. They also fired some shots, the sources said.
French troops have recently increased their presence in some YPG-held areas in Syria, including Manbij, al-Hasakah, Ayn Issa and Raqqah.
Leaders of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – which encompasses the YPG and which Turkey believes to be the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – in March met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
French media outlets later reported that France had promised to send troops to Syria’s northern Manbij region with the aim of supporting the SDF.
Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU, the PKK has battled the Turkish state since the mid-1980s, a conflict in which an estimated 40,000 people have been killed.