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Half Of French Syria Bases Have Gaps in Defence as US Troops Leaving – Reports

© REUTERS / Omar SanadikiA general view shows damaged buildings at al-Kalasa district of Aleppo, Syria in Aleppo, Syria, February 2, 2017
A general view shows damaged buildings at al-Kalasa district of Aleppo, Syria in Aleppo, Syria, February 2, 2017 - Sputnik International
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US troops pulling out of Syria would be leaving their posts from half of the French bases in the region, Turkish media reported Sunday, while exposing the locations of 9 French-occupied sites.

There are at least nine French bases scattered across northern Syria, the investigation carried out by Anadolu Agency revealed, noting that France had expanded its presence in the region since March when the media counted only five French bases.

READ MORE: Ceasefire Breaches Recorded in Syria's Idlib De-Escalation Zone

At least four of the French bases in Syria have withdrawing US troops stationed in them, according to the report. The other five would also be left more vulnerable since France can only “ensure their continued mobility by relying on” US troops or YPG militia for support.

“Under current circumstances, France does not seem to be able to provide a similar level of support to the YPG / PKK by filling the gap that will arise from the withdrawal of the US from Syria,” the report reads.

French officials did not confirm the information in the report. Previously, the French Defence Ministry has only stated that they have about 1,100 soldiers serving in the Middle East. The exact numbers of troops in Syria haven’t been revealed, even after they initiated Operation Chammal in Syria back in September 2015.

American soldier standing on an armored vehicle - Sputnik International
US Vacates First Warehouse in Syria Amid Pullout – Reports
US President Donald Trump announced that US troops – some 2,000 – will exit Syria, claiming to have defeated the terrorist groups in the country. The withdrawal is reportedly to take between two and three months. So far the US troops have abandoned only one base in north-eastern Syria,  Turkish media reported.

France, the US’ partner in the Middle East, was surprised by Trump’s decision, as French President Emmanuel Macron called the move unbecoming of any “ally,” since allies should be “reliable” and “fight shoulder to shoulder.” “I very deeply regret the decision made on Syria,” Macron said, promising that Paris will continue its operations in the country.

It has yet to be decided whether Kurdish forces will be able to keep the weapons the US have provided them.  Ankara sees the YPG, or People’s Protection Units, as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which it considers to be a terrorist organization, accusing it of carrying out attacks in Turkey.

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