On December 21, a co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), called on France to establish a no-fly zone in northeastern Syria.
“We are asking France to help introduce a no-fly zone in the north of Syria,” Ilham Ahmed said during a press conference in Paris after a meeting with senior French officials.
Another co-chair of the SDC who also attended Paris meeting, Riad Darar, warned that any Turkish attack on northeastern Syria will allow radical groups to remerge in the area.
France didn’t release an official statement on the meeting. However, an Elysee palace official told the Reuters news agency that Paris had assured the SDC delegation that its support for them will continue despite the U.S. decision to withdraw from Syria.
“The advisers passed on a message of support and solidarity and explained to them the talks France had with U.S. authorities to continue the fight against Daesh [ISIS],” Reuters quoted the French official as saying.
A day earlier, France’s European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said that her country is not following Washington’s footsteps and withdrawing its forces from Syria. The Ministry of Defense of France is yet to confirm this.
France is likely trying to replace U.S. forces in Syria, but the country, that has less than 1,000 service members in Asia, will not likely be able to handle such a complex task on its own.