French diplomats told Reuters on Wednesday U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw all its 2,000 troops from the region had taken Paris by surprise. U.S. officials justified the decision by saying Islamic State had been entirely defeated.
"It shows that we can have different priorities and that we must count on ourselves first," Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau told C-News television. "For now, of course we are staying in Syria because the fight against Islamic State is essential."
France is especially sensitive to the Islamic State threat after several major attacks on its soil in recent years. Hundreds of French nationals have joined the group in Syria.
Defence Minister Florence Parly acknowledged on Twitter that the militant group had been weakened and lost some 90 percent of its territory, but said the battle was not over.
"Islamic State has not been wiped from the map nor have its roots. The last pockets of this terrorist organisation must be defeated militarily once and for all," she said.
President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Trump on Wednesday, diplomats said. In April, when Trump previously announced a U.S. withdrawal, Macron persuaded the U.S. leader that Washington should stay engaged by citing the threat of Iran in the region.