• Tweeter
  • republish

The Syrian Army at Tal Tamer, October 15, 2019. AFP

The US withdrawal from Syria rebels the cards. The member countries of the international coalition against the Islamic State group, including France, are forced to prepare for their withdrawal. They are also worried about the fate of Western jihadists detained in the camps. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is expected in Iraq.

At the end of a restricted Defense Council, earlier this week, the French presidency of the Republic soberly indicated in a statement that " Paris would take measures to ensure the safety of the French military personnel present in the north of the Syria ": a succinct formulation, to evoke the withdrawal of the French special forces which, since 2015, with the Kurds fought against the terrorism of Daesh.

A French military presence difficult to maintain

The departure of the American troops, a veritable backbone in logistics , makes this French mission almost impossible, confirms Elie Tenenbaum, researcher at the French Institute of International Relations: " One could imagine a residual liaison mission that would remain, but would be limited probably to some staff and no more. And again ... Everything will obviously depend on the security and political context of the Kurds. How will the Kurdish forces operate against the advance of the Turks? But it is also the question of the alliance with the Syrian army of Bashar al-Assad, if it is still not considered as frequent. French advisers or French special forces would be hard pressed to operate alongside the Syrian army of Bashar al-Assad, of the various Iranian-backed militias, Hezbollah. This seems politically difficult to contemplate. All this helps to make sure that the French presence will be difficult to maintain in its current state ".

The risk of resurrection of the Islamic State

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has announced that he will travel to Iraq to discuss with the Iraqi authorities and " Kurds " the " security " of the camps where foreign jihadists are held.

The Kurds have never hidden, that in case of Turkish offensive, they would not focus on the fate of thousands of jihadists, placed in detention. This Sunday, October 13, 800 prisoners, including French women fled one of these camps. They could join the maquis of Daesh in Syria, says Laurence Bindner, co-founder of the Jos Project, organization of study of jihadist activity online. " Jihadists see the long-awaited opportunity to both reinforce the insurgency with intensified attacks and the release of activists currently in prison. And on the other hand, the opportunity to release, to unleash this ideology of which the women are legatees and which is since long months under constraint and circumscribed in the camps. The group's propaganda increasingly emphasizes the need to release members, sympathizers, families detained in prisons and camps. Al-Baghdadi himself, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State, in his last speech of September 12, urged his supporters to release their imprisoned brothers and sisters and destroy the walls around them. Part of this propaganda rhetoric has crystallized around the theme of the sisters' humiliation in the camps, the victimization and the corollary of this victimization, which is the duty of revenge . "

The question of the return of the jihadists

So far, France has always refused to repatriate its nationals , considering that they should be tried where they committed their crimes. An irresponsible and dangerous stance has been hammering French lawyer William Bourdon for a long time: " We are constantly saying that beyond the humanitarian, moral, political and legal emergency, to repatriate children and mothers first and foremost that this short-term, demagogic policy of making the French believe that they would be better protected by doing everything so that they do not return, could be a remedy worse than evil. It has been constantly repeated in a totally deafening silence. The government has been extremely rigid about this position. The result is that we wanted to protect the French, making them believe that their security would be more secure by not making them come back, and in fact, it is their security that will be less assured, since we have taken the risk that they will be recycled by the darkest forces of humanity. I mean, of course, Daesh . "

■ A meeting of politicians to support the Kurds

Report to the protest "Save our Kurdish allies" at the Théâtre du Gymnase in Paris 16/10/2019 - by Nicolas Rocca