ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The United States has made “a very bad” decision to pull its troops from Syria, a senior French Senator said on Tuesday.
“The decision by the Americans to leave Syria is a very bad decision,” Chairman of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, Christian Cambon, told Kurdistan 24. “I think we will have an opportunity to tell our American colleagues.”
US President Donald Trump’s surprise decision last month, following a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to withdraw US forces from Syria raised serious questions about the fate of the US allies, even as Trump subsequently affirmed that Washington would ensure the continued protection of Syria’s Kurds.
French President Emmanuel Macron notably slammed Trump’s decision and affirmed that allies should not be abandoned, referring to the Syrian Kurds.
“I very deeply regret the decision made on Syria,” Macron said while at a press conference in Chad on Dec. 24, 2018.
“To be allies is to fight shoulder to shoulder. It’s the most important thing for a head of state and head of the military. An ally should be dependable.”
France, a key member of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State, has roughly 1,100 troops operating in Iraq and Syria who provide logistics, training, and heavy artillery support as well as fighter jets to strike Islamic State targets. Its presence in Syria also includes dozens of special forces, military advisers, and some foreign office personnel.
When asked whether France would withdraw its forces from Syria, Senator Cambon said: “No!”
Cambon visited the Kurdistan Region on Monday evening as part of a senior French delegation headed by Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
On Tuesday, Le Drian and his delegates met with senior Kurdish leaders in Erbil, including Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Masrour Barzani, and the head of the leading Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) – and the former President of the Kurdistan Region – Masoud Barzani.
“It’s my first visit [to the Kurdistan Region] based on the invitation of the Minister [Le Drian],” Cambon stated.
Minutes before boarding his flight at Erbil International Airport (EIA), the French Senator told Kurdistan 24 he was “very impressed” with the quality of his meetings.
“I’m here to say that all of France and Parliament, in particular, the Senate will continue to help Kurdistan, which plays a big role in our security.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Blessa Shaweys conducted the interview; Nadia Riva contributed to this report)