Statement to the press: Jean Yves Le Drian at the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council on the Turkish offensive in north-east Syria (Luxembourg, 14 October 2019)


On arrival at the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 14 October, Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves le Drian expressed concerns on the current Turkish offensive in north-east Syria.


Ladies and gentlemen,

This Council is meeting amid an especially serious political context. It is serious because the Turk offensive could cause the re-emergence of Daesh. It could bring about a resurgence of Daesh that could take many forms. This has begun in Raqqa and Qamishli where there have been attacks for which Daesh has claimed responsibility.

This is especially serious because Syrian democratic forces, currently under threat, are our allies. They have been our allies since the fight against Daesh began. And it is especially serious because this offensive will cause a genuine humanitarian disaster. It has already generated 130,000 additional refugees and displaced persons, which are now living in distress.

France would therefore like to see this meeting produce several outcomes. First, a condemnation of the Turkish offensive and an express call to stop this offensive. Next and specifically, a strong position on arms exports to Turkey. And above all, we would like this meeting to provide an opportunity to ensure that the United States takes the initiative to convene a meeting of the Global Coalition Against Daesh. Because we must not forget that we have been engaged in combat against Daesh since 2014, under American leadership with some 30 participating countries, many of them European.

It is now important for us to meet to assess the new situation because France’s number one enemy remains Daesh. Thank you for your attention.