"France has taken the decision to repatriate until further notice its personnel deployed in operation Chammal in Iraq," the French Armed Forces Ministry announced Wednesday, Reuters reported. Around 100 soldiers will be withdrawn from Iraq.
General Abdul Karim Khalaf, the spokesperson for the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, confirmed Wednesday that "French troops have left Iraqi territory," Iraqi outlet Rudaw reported.
French troops are part of the US-led Global Coalition against Daesh. The coalition provides air support to Iraqi operations and training support to Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, Rudaw reported. Despite the fact that the French troops will be pulled out of Iraq, France's Armed Forces Ministry has said that the country will continue air operations against Daesh.
Another Global Coalition partner, the United Kingdom, also announced last week that it would be withdrawing its troops from Iraq due to the pandemic.
“Following the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a reduced requirement for training from the Iraqi Security Forces and a subsequent pause in the Coalition and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation training missions in Iraq,” a UK Ministry of Defense statement reads.
The latest data by World Meters reveals that there are more than 463,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus globally, and more than 20,000 people have died as a result. There are currently more than 300 confirmed cases of the virus in Iraq and more than 25,000 in France.