French sources close to the country's leadership report that Paris has no other opinion than to withdraw from the Western coalition following US President Donald Trump's decision to pull back the US military from Syria.
In the summer of 2014, France sent about two thousand troops to Iraq and Syria as part of the so-called "Western coalition" to take part in the training of Arab military specialists for missions against the Islamic State (ISIL, an international Muslim terrorist group banned in Russia). At the same time, several French fighter-bombers based at a Qatar air base were detached from the air force.
The French military has not officially announced the presence of its experts in Syria, but has recently acknowledged the activities of up to 200 of its subjects in the country's north-east. Mostly special forces paratroopers. At a recent ad-hoc meeting of the Defense and National Security Council in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron instructed that the Defense Ministry take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of French military and civilian personnel present in the area.
October 13 saw Britain's The Times report the government's readiness to pull out its troops from Syria. According to foreign sources, the country's north-east hosted a British military contingent of about 200 people. The British believe that the evacuation of American troops from Syria makes further presence of other Western coalition countries in the region useless.
On October 14, the French press claimed all the American units in Syria had already received Pentagon orders to withdraw.
A few days earlier, General Mark Milley, the US armed forces' Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, initiated a telephone conversation with General Valery Gerasimov, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The Russian military do not report any details of those talks. However, it can be assumed with a high degree of confidence that it was about coordinating efforts to ensure the safe withdrawal of American troops from the northeastern regions of Syria. In particular, the aversion of any incidents with Syrian government forces during the passage of American columns towards the border with Iraq.
It is not inconceivable that following France and Britain other member states of the so-called "Western coalition" will also give up on action in Syria. Its activities extend to the territory of neighboring Iraq. At the same time, the government of that Arab country considers curtailing military and military-technical cooperation with the mentioned military alignment of Western and other states.