From today’s Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten:
France is stationing over a thousand soldiers in Syria
France is significantly expanding its military presence in Syria. This indicates that the Western alliance is still unwilling to face defeat at the hands of the Syrian-Russian alliance.
According to the Israeli intelligence service DEBKAfile, French special forces by now should have started the military operation in northern Syria, that was announced by French President Emmanuel Macron. According to the findings, the French landed with aircraft and helicopters in early April at the US military bases in northern Syria and are to carry out “patrols” in the region.
This indicates that the Western Alliance wants to continue to participate in the Syria War. The French would support the US troops in Syria. “The French have been strengthening us with special forces in Syria over the past two weeks,” said US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis before the US Congressional Military Committee.
The Pentagon chief thus confirmed press information that the French government did not want to comment on. French President Emmanuel Macron said during a press conference with US President Donald Trump on Tuesday in Washington: “We have decided to increase our contribution to the coalition.” His country is “completely involved in the fight” against ISIS.
According to the AFP, the US is present in Syria with around 2,000 soldiers, mostly supporting Kurdish fighters in their operations. The Americans have no plans to withdraw from Syria, Mattis said. France has been a long-standing member of the international anti-ISIS coalition in Iraq and Syria, and has participated in the liberation of the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS violence.
Number and locations of French troops
A few days ago, French troops broke out of their position in Iraq’s Nineveh province into the Syrian province of Hasaka, according to news agency Anadolu. The troops were transferred to the city Rumeilan, which is controlled by the Kurdish militia YPG. There is also a US military base.
The French military is currently stationed at five military bases in northern Syria, all located in the territory of the Kurdish militias. These include Rakka, Ayn Issa, Ayn al-Arab, Sarrin and Harb Issk.
According to the news agency, more than 70 French special forces troops operating in the international coalition against ISIS are currently based in the Lafarge cement factory near Harb-Issk village in Ayn al -Arab (Kobani). These would be conducting joint operations with the Kurdish militias of the YPG and the PKK. Translator’s note: The French and their Lafarge cement factory have a disgraceful recent history. See How French cement company collaborated with ISIS
An air force base built by the US military in Harab-Issk was later integrated with the nearby cement factory.
The facility is currently operated by US military personnel operating under the coalition, while a number of French troops are also stationed there. 30 other French troops operate together with the Kurdish militia in Rakka.
Adding them up:
In addition to the French special forces are also the 1st Marine Infantry Paratroopers Regiment (1er R.P.I.Ma.) and the 10th Parachute Command Group (CPA 10) operating in the region. The R.P.I.Ma. has 865
soldiers. The CPA 10 consists of 125 soldiers, write Chris Mann, Alexander Stilwell, Major Mike McKinney and Mike Ryan in their book “The Encyclopedia of the World Special Forces: Tactics, History, Strategy, Weapons”. This puts about 1,110 French soldiers in Syria.
France supports Kurdish militias
The French are to support the local YPG against Turkey. Whether there really will be a confrontation between soldiers of the two NATO partners is unclear. US President Donald Trump had announced that the US wants to withdraw from Syria. However, this may have been a feint, because the Americans have expanded their bases in Syria and so far not downsized. It is also conceivable that the three NATO states, the USA, Turkey and France, could join in formation in order to reduce the influence of the Russians.
However, a conflict between NATO countries can not be ruled out either.
On Thursday, March 29, a SDF (“Syrian Democratic Forces”) delegation was received by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace. During this meeting, the French President made his position clear to the SDF. He assured the SDF of France’s support, especially in connection with the stabilization of the security zone in northeastern Syria, which includes the city of Manbij.
Earlier, an SDF spokesman said that France would send special troops to Manbij, to prevent the Turkish troops from moving to Manbij. This was initially rejected by the French Presidential Office. “France is not planning a new military operation in northern Syria outside the international anti-ISIS coalition,” L’Orient Le Jour quoted the French Presidential press office of the .
“Macron certainly will not go so far as to proclaim a military reinforcement in this area (Manbij, ed.) (…). The Kurds have over-interpreted the words of the President of the Republic,” said Michel Duclos, quoted by L’Orient Le Jour. Duclos is former ambassador of France to Syria and Special Adviser on Geopolitics at the Montaigne Institute.
Turkey less than pleased
Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli has warned against a French “invasion” in northern Syria. In a televised speech in Istanbul, Turkish President reminded Macron that Ankara’s operation in Syria was aimed “not at invading, but saving the region from bloody gangs.” Paris, on the other hand, advocated a dialogue between Ankara and the SDF “with the help of France and the international community” – a proposal the Turkish President rejected. “Erdogan and his speakers refused any mediation from France. But he should think twice about it (…). This would be an opportunity for the Turks to receive YPG security guarantees, thus avoiding doubts about the use of Syrian Kurds as a base for attacking Turkey,” Duclos says. The Turkish news agency Anadolu published a map last Friday showing positions of French and American troops in north and northeastern Syria.
The Turkish newspaper Milliyet reports that France has already sent 50 special troops to Manbij. Voice of America (VoA) quotes the spokesman for the Kurdish militia, Halid Isa: “France is relinquishing its responsibility in Afrin at the diplomatic level and in Manbij at the military level. France has decided to support its Kurdish allies. In the end, the US and France have decided to send military support to Manbij.”
US trying to close off areas of Syria — Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the US would try to isolate the communities east of the Euphrates. “We are very concerned that in recent months, despite numerous assurances that the US’s only target in Syria is the anti-terrorist struggle, we are seeing the US settling quite seriously on the eastern bank of the Euphrates – largely in the Syrian territory bordering Iraq,” as Middle East Monitor quotes Lavrov.
The US would create structures and facilities in these areas, the funding of which will also be provided by the US. The militias there are accountable to the US and dependent. “The US is not only strengthening its military facilities, but also building a loyal and funded power that isolates these areas from the rest of Syria,” Lavrov said.