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    A French soldier engaged in the Operation Chammal, the French military operation within Operation Inherent Resolve, the international coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group, stands guard by three wheeled 155 mm gun-howitzer CAESAR systems (trucks equipped with an artillery system) on February 9, 2019, near Al-Qaim, a few kilometres away from the last scrap of territory held by IS in eastern Syria

    Potential Pullout of French Troops From Syria Under Discussion - Envoy in Russia

    © AFP 2019 / Daphné BENOIT
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The potential withdrawal of French troops from Syria is currently under discussion, French Ambassador in Russia Sylvie Bermann told Sputnik.

    "This issue is currently being discussed," the ambassador said, when asked if France would stay in Syria.

    US President Donald Trump announced in mid-December that the US troops would withdraw from Syria.

    "Yes, like everyone, we were surprised when the United States said it was withdrawing its troops from Syria. From that moment on, we have been in constant contact with the US leadership, but France has also assumed certain responsibilities as part of the coalition. What we find somewhat reassuring is that this is about a gradual, planned troop pullout," the ambassador added.

    READ MORE: France to Repatriate 130 Daesh Fighters Detained in Syria — Report

    In January, French President Emmanuel Macron said that France would continue being militarily engaged in the Middle East in the international coalition throughout 2019 as, according to the president, the battle against Daesh* was not over. The statement came a day after a suicide bombing claimed by Daesh militants killed at least 16 people, including two US service members.

    On Possible French-Russian Competition in CAR

    Russia and France are complementing each other, not competing, in the Central African Republic (CAR), French Ambassador in Russia Sylvie Bermann told Sputnik.

    "Russia has recently also resumed its activities in Africa, in particular in the Central African Republic, where we are also present. Russia is cooperating with other African countries as well. I think it is very good that African countries have many different partners. This is not a competition, this is about complementing [one another]," the ambassador said.

    Bermann added that it "would be good if Russia coordinated with the UN and other international organizations and, of course, with us."

    Last week, a peace agreement between the authorities and armed groups of the Central African Republic (CAR), reached in Sudan's capital of Khartoum, was signed in Bangui by all the participants in the peace talks.

    *Daesh [IS, Islamic State, ISIL] — a terrorist organisation banned in Russia

    Related:

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    France Reveals Terms of Its Withdrawal From Syria
    'No Benefit': Turkey Warns France Against Remaining in Syria Amid US Pullout
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    withdrawal, ambassador, Sylvie Bermann, Russia, France
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