France’s President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to keep his country’s troops in northeastern Syria this year in order to counter the threat of ISIS.
“The announced withdrawal of our American ally should not deflect us from our strategic objective to eradicate Daesh [ISIS],” Macron said in a speech in Toulouse to the armed forces on January 17, according to the Reuters news agency.
The French President also said that the recent attack on American troops in the northern Syrian city of Manbij shows that the battle against ISIS is still ongoing and claimed that next few months will be “decisive.”
“We will remain militarily engaged in the Levant in the international coalition … over the coming year,” he added
Last December, Macron slammed U.S. President Donald Trump decision to withdraw American forces from Syria and said that “an ally should be dependable,” in a sign to the alliance between the US-led coalition and the local Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
France is currently leading the efforts to maintain a Western military presence in northeastern Syria. While the European country claims that this presence is aimed at confronting ISIS, local observers believe that Paris is only trying to use the SDF as a tool to pressure Damascus.
Macron is likely willing to keep his troops in Syria even if the U.S. withdraws, which is a very complicated task that will likely fail.