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France’s Macron says success in Sahel enables operational change

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French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday opened the door to withdrawing some troops from the Sahel region saying that Paris was able to adjust its operations after successes over against Islamist militants and the arrival of more European forces.

“The temporary reinforcements that I decided to deploy have enabled the Barkhane force to put in great difficulty terrorist groups, which find themselves cornered and reduced to cowardly acts,” Macron said in his annual New Year’s wishes to the military. “The results obtained by our forces in the Sahel, combined with the greater intervention of our European partners, will allow us to adjust our effort.”

Paris boosted its troop numbers for its Barkhane counter-terrorism operations by 600 in 2020 to 5,100 soldiers.

Diplomatic and military sources have said France was expected to announce a withdrawal of a similar number by mid-February.



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