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French Aircraft Carrier Returns to EastMed

French Aircraft Carrier Returns to EastMed

Thursday, 14 January, 2021 - 11:45
The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (File photo: AFP)

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said that the "Charles de Gaulle" aircraft carrier will return to the eastern Mediterranean to support France’s presence in the region.

Talking to the Defense Committee of the National Assembly earlier this week, Parly announced that the next mission of the French aircraft carrier will be to strengthen France’s presence, as part of Operation Chammal.

“The Carrier Strike Group will thus deploy in the first half of 2021 in the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. This commitment demonstrates, should it be necessary, our willingness to fight terrorism on an ongoing basis.”

Parly stated that around 900 soldiers will be deployed as part of Operation Chammal, within the international coalition’s aim to combat ISIS.

This will be the carrier’s first mission since the beginning of 2020 when nearly two-thirds of its crew were infected with the coronavirus.

During a recent television interview, the minister announced that the threat of the terrorist organization is still present, and there is "some form" of ISIS re-emergence in Syria and Iraq.

The administration of the outgoing US President Donald Trump announced its intention to withdraw 500 soldiers from Iraq in mid-January, in a move that would reduce the number of US troops to 2,500.

A number of countries of the international coalition against ISIS withdrew most of their soldiers from Iraq at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recent deployment coincides with the growing tensions between Paris and Ankara over the ongoing military conflicts in Syria and Libya, and Turkey's gas explorations in disputed waters with Greece and Cyprus.

The two countries also disagreed over the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Tensions mounted between Paris and Ankara in October after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan questioned the “mental health” of his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

Erdogan accused Macron of launching a “hate campaign” against Islam after the incident created by the published caricature of Prophet Mohammad.

However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced last week that his country is ready to normalize ties with its NATO ally if Paris showed the same willingness, indicating that talks between the two countries are going well.

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