Kurds urge France to play bigger role in Syria as US withdraws troops

A senior Kurdish politician has called on France to play a stronger role in Syria following the withdrawal of US troops from the country. Meanwhile Turkey pledged to take over the fight against Islamic State group militants in Syria. The surprise announcement by US President Donald Trump this week that he would withdraw roughly 2,000 troops has felled a pillar of American policy in the Middle East. Critics say Trump's decision will make it harder to find a diplomatic solution to Syria's seven-year-old conflict. For Turkey, the step removes a source of friction with the United States. Erdogan has long castigated his NATO ally over its support for Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters against Islamic State. Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group and an offshoot of the armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), fighting for Kurdish autonomy across the border on Turkish soil.