Despite U.S. Troop Pull Out France Promises to Stay in Syria to Fight ISIS

Published December 20th, 2018 - 11:47 GMT
France's European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau  (Twitter)
France's European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau (Twitter)

France said Thursday that it will maintain its participation in the anti-ISIS coalition in Syria as Britain insisted "much remains to be done" in fighting the terrorist group in the war-torn country, amid reports it was not given prior warning of President Donald Trump's decision to pull out US ground troops.

"For now of course we remain in Syria," France's European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said on CNews television, adding "the fight against terrorism is not over."

"It's true that the coalition has made significant progress in Syria, but this fight continues, and we will continue it," she said.

A UK government statement came in line with Loiseau’s remarks.

"Since military operations began, the coalition and its partners in Syria and Iraq have recaptured the vast majority of ISIS territory and important advances have been made in recent days in the last area of eastern Syria which ISIS has occupied.

"But much remains to be done and we must not lose sight of the threat they pose. Even without territory, ISIS will remain a threat."

Britain’s Junior defense minister Tobias Ellwood was more blunt, retweeting a message from Trump that the militants had been defeated in Syria with the words: "I strongly disagree.

"It has morphed into other forms of extremism and the threat is very much alive."

Trump declared on Wednesday that ISIS had been "beaten" in Syria and announced the pullout of American ground forces from the war-ravaged nation.

Currently, about 2,000 US forces are in Syria, most of them on a train-and-advise mission to support local forces fighting ISIS.

The Pentagon refused to say what effect the troop withdrawal would have on air operations in Syria that have been ongoing since late 2014.

Britain takes part in the air strikes as part of an international coalition.

The statement from London said: "We remain committed to the global coalition and the campaign to deny ISIS territory and ensure its enduring defeat, working alongside our critical regional partners in Syria and beyond.

"As the situation on the ground develops, we will continue to discuss how we achieve these aims with our coalition partners, including the US."

The Times newspaper reported that Britain had not been informed of the decision before Trump announced it.

As for France, it has stationed fighter jets in Jordan and artillery along the Syrian border in Iraq as part of the US-led coalition, as well as an undisclosed number of special forces on the ground.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly said on Twitter Thursday that ISIS "has not been wiped of the map, nor have its roots."

"We must definitively defeat the last pockets of this terrorist organization," she said.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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