As the Islamic State’s remaining territory is retaken, there are still nearly 500 French jihadists in Iraq, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian.
“There remain around 500 [jihadists] who are there and who will be prisoners or who will likely flee,” he said. “Returning to France by themselves is extremely difficult.”
Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly said in October that it was necessary to “neutralize a maximum of jihadists,” and that if they “die in battle…all the better.”
Russia has recently announced the “complete liberation” of Syrian territory from ISIS and said that its mission was “complete.”
“I find it at times surprising that Russia has claimed victory against Daech…even if Russian forces, with support from Bashar al-Assad’s regime, were able to belatedly free Deir Ezzor,” said Le Drian, while noting the significant achievements of Kurdish forces in regaining territory.