France securing its civilians and soldiers in Syria amid the withdrawal of 1,000 US troops
France said it was taking measures to ensure the safety of its military and civilian personnel in northeastern Syria as the US begins to withdraw its forces from the area and Syria’s Kurds, abandoned, betrayed and facing a possible genocide, are battling to hold off a Turkish invasion.
President Trump has ordered a withdrawal of virtually all US forces from northern Syria after days of assurances from the Pentagon that the United States was not “abandoning” its partners in the campaign against ISIS.
“They trusted us and we broke that trust,” one U.S. Army officer who fought alongside the Kurds in northern Syria said last week “It’s a stain on the American conscience.”
French Prime Minister Edouard Phillippe said that his country’s forces would remain in Syria to battle ISIS and defend Kurdish-led forces fighting the terror group.
“The fight against ISIS is not over and continues alongside the Kurdish-led Syrian SDF,” Phillippe told French lawmakers.
“Saying things with constancy and coherence is preferable to reacting to obvious hesitations from certain players, notably our American friends,” he added.
France has been one of the main allies in the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq, with its warplanes used to strike terror targets and its special forces on the ground coordinating with Kurdish and Arab fighters.
French officials have previously said that a U.S. withdrawal would force them to also leave, given they rely on U.S. logistical support.
A regional diplomatic source told Reuters on Thursday that Paris was preparing to pull out its several hundred special forces. They are operating closely with Kurdish-led forces, who are now the target of Turkey and its proxy jihadists in northern Syria. French aid workers are also in the zone.
Dozens of French ISIS terrorists and hundreds of French Muslim women and children jihadists are being held by Kurdish groups in areas close to the Turkish invasion.