France admits special forces in Syria advising rebels
PARIS—France has deployed special forces in northern Syria to advise the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting the ISIS group, a defense ministry official said Friday.
“The offensive at Manbij is clearly being backed by a certain number of states including France. It’s the usual support — it’s advisory,” the official told AFP, without giving further details on the deployment.
France until now has only acknowledged the presence in the region of around 150 members of its special forces, deployed in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The SDF, a US-backed Kurdish and Arab alliance, are on the northern edge of Manbij, a strategic town held by ISIS that serves as a waypoint between the Turkish border and the militant’ stronghold of Raqqa.
The French special forces will not intervene militarily themselves and are not supposed to engage in combat with IS militants.—Agencies