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On Armistice Day, Macron leads tributes to fallen soldiers

File photo of a French military homage to 10 soldiers killed in Afghanistan's Uzbin Valley in August 2008.
File photo of a French military homage to 10 soldiers killed in Afghanistan's Uzbin Valley in August 2008. Michel Euler, Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron marks Armistice Day by leading tributes to soldiers fallen in World War I and during French missions at home and abroad. Later Monday, he will also inaugurate the first monument in homage to troops who died for France during overseas operations.

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November 11 marks Armistice Day, commemorating the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany for the cessation of hostilities in World War I.

In France, the public holiday is traditionally marked by the French president placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

This year, President Macron will also inaugurate a monument for the 549 soldiers "killed for France" during external operations since 1963, the end of the Algerian War.



The soldiers perished in 17 theatres of operation, including 141 in Lebanon, 129 in Chad, 85 in Afghanistan and 78 in former Yugoslavia.

The last serving soldier to die on an overseas battlefield was Corporal Ronan Pointeau, who was killed November 2 in Mali, where 23 French soldiers have perished during counterterror missions in the increasingly volatile Sahel region.

Around 4,500 French troops are stationed on the ground and in the air under Operation Barkhane, an anti-insurgency mission that spans Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. Together, they make up the G5 Sahel grouping of the former French colonies in the scrubland zone between the Sahara and the African savanna.

French troops are also serving under Operation Chammal, where around 1,000 soldiers are deployed alongside an international coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq.
 

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