Le Drian Hints French Special Forces Are Fighting Islamic StateGregory Viscusi
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian Wednesday dropped a hint Wednesday that French special forces may be operating against Islamic State in Syria.
Asked at a press conference with his U.S. counterpart Ashton Carter if the French would agree to U.S. requests to send special forces to the region, Le Drian repeated that France has a long-standing policy of never discussing the deployment of its elite troops. He then instantly said U.S. and French special forces work well together.
Carter and Le Drian met in Paris with defense ministers from Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Australia to discuss efforts to defeat Islamic State.
Le Drian said repeated air strikes have put Islamic State on the defensive but local partners and a Syrian political process are necessary to take back Islamic State strongholds such as Raqqa.
Le Drian and Carter both said military cooperation with Russia was impossible as long as Russian planes were attacking Syrian rebel groups that are opposed to Islamic State.
“Fighting Daesh means fighting Daesh,” Le Drian said, using the name the French prefer for the group. “It’s hard to understand why the Russians attack groups that have agreed to take part in political talks.”