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A special forces paratrooper killed in action in the Levant

(B2)" A warrant officer from the 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment died in the Levant while carrying out his mission ". The message emanating from the general staff is short and succinct and rather vague on the combat zone. The Levant remains vast.

The French soldier is died in a combat incident in the Middle East as part of the "coalition" (led by the Americans) completes a press release of the operation Inherent Resolve, reached B2, without further details on the area. When questioned, the duty officer refers to the national authorities for any additional details, in particular the circumstances of the death. A communicated de l'Elysée confirmed the notion of combat by remaining just as evasive on the place, contenting himself with specifying the moment, this Saturday, September 23 " in the morning ».

Died in battle

The armies will then prefer to use the term "Irako-Syrian zone" providing some details on the circumstances of the death. " Fighting actions opposed fighters from local forces and members of Daesh. Shots were exchanged, some hitting a position of French soldiers who were advising these local forces It was "during this clash" that Chief Warrant Officer Grenier (see box) was " mortally wounded ».

A commitment to battle

It is the first time since the start of the French military intervention in Iraq (and Syria) as part of the American-led coalition that a French soldier has died in combat in the region. Incidentally, we can thus learn that the French soldiers do not only training (training) or airstrikes, as often mentioned, but from mentoring (supervision) more intensive and are therefore more directly involved on the ground, in the field.

special forces

It is not illogical. this type of operation cannot be carried out without special forces on the ground. The 13th RDP is a parachute regiment, based in Souge (Gironde), and specialized in intelligence.

Integrated into the army's special forces brigade, its men lent a hand in all external operations, whether in the Sahel, Côte d'Ivoire, Afghanistan or Somalia. In general, they operate under the direction of the COS (special operations command), or even the DRM (direction of military intelligence).

Coalition Inherent Resolve is currently engaged at several points, in particular in Raqqa in Syria and in Tal Afar and especially in Hawijah, a city located in the Euphrates valley, in Iraq, occupied since 2014 by the Islamic state. The Iraqi security forces, supported by the allies, began a vast offensive there since Thursday (September 21).

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(Maj) A member of the nautical squadron

Aged 34, born in Caen, Chief Warrant Officer Stéphane Grenier has completed his entire military career in the 13th RDP, since he joined at the end of 2003. Spotted from his initial training as one of the best of his generation », he had successfully passed all the selections allowing him to join the research teams of the 13th RDP. He excels in each of the special intelligence gathering operations carried out with the nautical squadron of the 13th RDP. He was engaged in an operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2005. Certified cell leader in an airborne search team, he continued with the operation in Côte d'Ivoire in 2007 and 2008, at a time when the country was hesitating between peace and war (1)

He will then be engaged in Afghanistan, in 2009 then in 2010, within the Special Forces Group JEHOL, in Kapisa province. It is then quoted for his courage and professionalism in perilous intelligence-gathering actions ". He returned to the Afghan theater in 2013, after "other counter-terrorism operations in the Horn of Africa", in Somalia. Became research team leader at the 13th RDP in 2014, he led his team in several sensitive and complex special operations, in the Sahel in 2014 then in the Middle East in 2016. He was a PACS member and father of a little girl.

(1) A rocket attack (missed) targets the Ivorian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro in June 2007 in Bouaké and the political agreement of Ouagadougou is signed.

Updated on 29.9 with the deceased serviceman's biography and the circumstances of death.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).