SOS Chrétiens d'Orient Members: Finally Free

March 30, 2020

In a press release published on March 26, 2020, the Elysée Palace announced the release of four members of the SOS Chrétiens d'Orient association, whose whereabouts have not been known since their abduction on January 20.

“The President of the Republic welcomes the release of our three compatriots Antoine Brochon, Julien Dittmar, Alexandre Goodarzy, and the Iraqi Tariq Mattoka, all employees of the NGO SOS Chrétiens d'Orient. They had been kidnapped in Baghdad on Monday January 20, 2020,” said the Elysée.

The president’s office stresses that “France has made every effort to achieve this outcome,” and specifies that the French head of state expressed “his gratitude to the Iraqi authorities for their cooperation.”

At the same time, we learn of the withdrawal of French troops present in Iraq, against a background of coronavirus “which was going to hamper one of the foreign operations” of the army, explained the French general staff on March 25, 2020.

“In coordination with the Iraqi government, the coalition has decided to adjust its presence in Iraq and to temporarily suspend its training activities for the Iraqi security forces, particularly in view of the health crisis,” said the French general staff in his press release.

Thus, “Until further notice, France has decided to repatriate the personnel of Operation Chammal (the French component of the international Inherent Resolve operation) deployed in Iraq,” namely nearly 200 soldiers engaged so far in the training of the Iraqi army, to help it in its fight against the Islamic State organization.