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France says to stay in Syria after US troops ordered home

France will maintain its participation in the coalition fighting Islamic State forces in Syria, government officials said on Thursday after President Donald Trump surprised Washington’s allies by ordering US troops home.

“For now of course we remain in Syria,” France’s European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said on CNews television, adding “the fight against terrorism is not over.” “It’s true that the coalition has made significant progress in Syria, but this fight continues, and we will continue it,” she said.

France has stationed fighter jets in Jordan and artillery along the Syrian border in Iraq as part of the US-led coalition, as well as an undisclosed number of special forces on the ground.

On Wednesday Trump said in a Twitter video that “We’ve won against ISIS,” another acronym for the Islamic State group, and that it was time to bring the roughly 2,000 US soldiers fighting the jihadists home.

It was a stunning reversal of a US policy which had vowed its support for Kurdish allies who have been key fighters against IS forces in Syria.

Its allies have warned that despite losing most of the territory it once controlled during the bloody Syrian civil war, the IS threat has not been totally eradicated.

French Defence Minister Florence Parly said on Twitter on Thursday that the group “has not been wiped of the map, nor have its roots.” “We must definitively defeat the last pockets of this terrorist organisation,” she said.

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