PARIS / WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following reports confirming the presence of Turkish-employed Syrian mercenaries fighting on behalf Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, French President Emmanuel Macron and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan discussed the situation via phone
Macron has publicly stated that France has evidence that Syrian mercenaries have been transported through Turkey to Azerbaijan and asked Ankara to explain what he defined as the transportation of “300 jihadists” to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Following a NATO summit on Friday, Macron stated that, “A red line has been crossed, which is unacceptable.”
“France’s response is to ask Turkey for an explanation on this point,” he continued.
On Friday, a statement of the Armenian government announced that the two leaders emphasized the need to prohibit the participation of foreigners in the conflict.
The Armenian statement indicated that Pashinyan thanked Macron for his principled and constructive stance and repeated calls for an immediate ceasefire.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Turkey that sending Syrian fighters to the conflict zone would lead to more instability and chaos in the region.
“We believe that the Turkish transfer will lead to the same thing with regard to the conflict in Artsakh,” Pompeo declared, referring to the negative effects Turkish-backed mercenary forces have had in Syria and Libya.
Both Turkey and Azerbaijan have denied the presence of Syrian mercenaries in Azerbaijan despite mounting evidence.