December 21, 2018 / 7:28 AM / a month ago

Trump's Syria pullout a 'grave decision': French defense minister

French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly attends the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris, France, September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump took “an extremely grave decision” to pull troops from Syria, France’s defense minister said on Friday.

“We do not share the analyses that the territorial caliphate (of Islamic State) has been annihilated,” Florence Parly said on RTL radio. “It’s an extremely grave decision and we think ... the job must be finished.”

Parly also paid tribute to outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, describing him as a “great soldier” and “partner for all occasions” after he abruptly announced his resignation on Thursday over differences with Trump on Syria.

(The story amends translation of quote in headline and first and second paragraphs to ‘grave’, not ‘heavy’ and cuts extraneous word in first paragraph.)

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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