France's President Emmanuel Macron holds a press conference at the presidential palace in N'Djamena, on December 23, 2018. Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – French President Emmanuel Macron criticized Donald Trump, implying the American president is an unreliable ally after deciding to withdraw from Syria.
"To be an ally is to fight shoulder to shoulder," Macron said in a press conference in N’Djamena, Chad on Sunday.
"An ally must be reliable, to coordinate with its other allies.”
France has troops on the ground in northern Syria as part of the international coalition against ISIS. They are there alongside American and British forces, backing up their allies in the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Trump surprised his partners and his own advisors when he announced last week that ISIS was “defeated in Syria” and he was calling US troops home.
"I deeply regret the decision" made by Trump, said Macron.
France will not follow Trump’s lead. French Defence Minister Florence Parly said the fight against terrorism is a priority for her government – “Our analysis: we have a job to finish.”
Representatives of the Kurdish-led administration governing more than a quarter of Syrian territory visited Paris
to ask France to fill the gap that will be left by the withdrawing Americans.
Macron also said a few words in tribute to US Secretary of Defense James Mattis who resigned in protest of Trump’s decision.
"I want here to pay tribute to General Mattis... for a year we have seen how he was a reliable partner," he said.
In his resignation letter, Mattis told Trump that he prioritizes relationships with allies and he was leaving his position so that Trump could have a defense chief whose values match those of the president.