Paris’s counterterrorism operation in the Sahel region of West Africa is coming to an end, with the reduced French contingent instead set to join a broader international force, President Emmanuel Macron has said.

The shutdown of Operation Barkhane will come as part of a “profound transformation” of French military presence in the region, Macron announced during a press conference on Thursday. The French government is planning to focus on fighting the jihadists in Sahel within European missions and the UN, he added.

“We will make a drawdown in an organized way,” the president said, before adding that all of the details will be finalized by the end of the month.

“We will have to hold a dialogue with our African (5G Sahel nations – Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania) and European partners,” he pointed out.

According to Macron, France intends to keep “several hundred” special forces troops in the region as the first “counterterrorism pillar,” with the second pillar being “cooperation” with partners. (RT)