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Macron hails US for leaving some troops in Syria

'I can only but welcome this choice,’ French president says

Yusuf Ozcan   | 26.02.2019
Macron hails US for leaving some troops in Syria

PARIS 

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday welcomed the United States’ decision to leave at least 200 troops in Syria after the planned withdrawal of most of its forces.

"On the U.S. decision, I can only but welcome this choice…the U.S. decision is a good thing," said Macron, speaking at a joint news conference with his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih at the Elysee Palace.

"That responds to the need to stay with the SDF and those who, on the ground, have worked to fight against the Islamic State," he added, referring to the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces.

He will pay a visit to Iraq in the coming months, he noted.

Touching on the cooperation between France and Iraq on security and defense issues, he underlined that France will continue supporting Iraq against terrorism.

The U.S. currently has more than 2,000 troops deployed in Syria.

On Thursday, the White House said 200 troops will remain in Syria as part of a peacekeeping effort. However, a report published by The Washington Post said 400 troops will remain, with 200 in northeast Syria and another 200 at the al-Tanf garrison in southern Syria.

The pullout, which is not expected to be completed until the summer, will be driven by the situation on the ground, according to U.S. officials.

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