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.
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.
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.