A French government source said Tuesday that Paris has “no intention” of withdrawing its 200-soldier force from Iraq, AFP reported.
“Since Friday we have reinforced security for our French soldiers deployed in Iraq,” Defense Minister Florence Parly tweeted Tuesday.
“The priority today is the same as it was yesterday and should be tomorrow: the fight against Daesh and its resurgence on the ground in the Middle East, and its propaganda on the internet,” Parly added, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL Takfiri group.
AFP quoted the government source as saying that there were no plans for a French pullout.
The coalition’s future in Iraq is uncertain after US President Donald Trump ordered a strike that killed IRGC’s Quds Force Commander General Qasem Suleimani and the Deputy Commander of Iraq’s Hashd Shaabi Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis at Baghdad international airport last Friday (January 3, 2020).
Adding to the confusion were reports that an American general had “mistakenly” informed the Iraqi government that his troops were preparing to leave, requiring a hasty clarification from the Pentagon.
Germany on Tuesday said it had temporarily withdrawn some of its troops deployed as part of the anti-IS coalition in Iraq, and NATO said it is taking “some personnel” out of the country because of increased risks to their safety.