Colonel Francois-Regis Legrier, who has been in charge of directing French artillery supporting Kurdish-led groups in Syria since October, faces punishment after making critical remarks regarding the U.S.-led coalition’s methods to defeat the group in its remaining stronghold of Hajin, the French army said on February 16.
“A punishment is being considered,” army spokesman Patrick Steiger said in a text message, according to Reuters.
The French leadership appeared to be unhappy that Colonel Legrier openly admitted that the coalition’s focus had been on limiting its own risks and this had greatly increased the death toll among civilians and the levels of destruction.
“Yes, the Battle of Hajin was won, at least on the ground but by refusing ground engagement, we unnecessarily prolonged the conflict and thus contributed to increasing the number of casualties in the population,” the officer wrote in an article published by the National Defence Review. “We have massively destroyed the infrastructure and given the population a disgusting image of what may be a Western-style liberation leaving behind the seeds of an imminent resurgence of a new adversary.”
He noted that the coalition could have defeated ISIS militants in the Hajin pocket [about 2,000] much faster and more effectively by sending in just 1,000 troops.
“This refusal raises a question: why have an army that we don’t dare use?” the officer asked.
The question of Colonel Legrier has a clear answer: The US-led coalition is not hurrying up to defeat ISIS because the “war” on the terrorist group is the main formal justification for its illegal invasion in Syria. This is also the explanation why the colonel is facing punishment for asking an obvious question.
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