December 21, 2018 / 7:20 AM / 3 months ago

Trump's Syria pullout a "grave decision" - French defence minister

FILE PHOTO: French Defence minister Florence Parly and her Finnish counterpart Jussi Niinisto (not pictured) during a joint news conference in Helsinki, Finland, August 23, 2018. Lehtikuva/Vesa Moilanen/via REUTERS/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump took “an extremely grave decision” to pull troops from Syria, France’s defence 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. Defence 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.

(This story has been refilled to amend 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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