French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian pledged that France would withdraw its troops from Syria as soon as a “political solution” is guaranteed, in an interview with French C-News on January 9th,
“There is our [military] presence in Iraq, [and] we have a scanty presence in Syria,” he said.
Le Drian also said that Russia bears responsibility to reach a political solution of the Syrian conflict.
Russia “bears political responsibility so that Syria has a political, not a military solution [of the conflict] to avoid the use of chemical weapons,” he said.
“Le Drian’s remarks came after France’s European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said in an interview with C-News on 20 December that France will “for now” maintain its participation in the coalition fighting Daesh forces in Syria,” Sputnik reported.
Sputnik further reported that in a separate development, French President Emmanuel Macron’s advisors met with representatives of the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and assured them of France’s future support.
In the interview with c-news, Le Drian also spoke of France’s Kurdish allies and said that they are committed to helping them. He said that the Kurdish “are our best allies” and must be “comforted.”
He also said that he’ll visit Iraq in “the coming days” to discuss the ramifications of U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.
Le Drian also said that French residents who joined Islamic State and have been captured in Syria or Iraq, “must be judged where their crimes were committed.”
The announcement of the terms of withdrawal may related to Turkey’s apparent attempts to persuade France to give up on supporting the Kurdish militias. Turkey’s intentions became apparent after Turkish state media released the alleged locations of all French military bases in the country and repeatedly said that France’s military presence is not enough to support the operation against ISIS.