Rather than stabilizing, security has progressively worsened.
Two French military helicopters crashed into each other in Mali Monday evening, November 25, killing 13 soldiers. France's Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said the incident occurred while the helicopters were in flight.
The accident happened when the two military helicopters, "Tigre" and "Cougar", collided while flying at a very low altitude, the French media reports said.
"The President of the Republic salutes with the greatest respect the memory of these soldiers", the Elysee Palace statement said. "He bows to the grief of their families and their loved ones".
France has deployed some 4,500 French troops in West Africa's Sahel region to combat extremist rebels and restore security there. They were forced back into the desert, where they have regrouped.
Public outrage in Mali also has been directed in recent weeks against France, the country's former colonizer, over the failure to stop the violence that also has led to deadly clashes between wary communities amid suspicions of supporting the extremists.
But almost three years after its launch, the G5 Sahel remains perennially underfunded, hobbled by poor coordination and leaving much of the onus on Paris.
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The hard-left France Unbowed party on Tuesday waded in to the fray, with its MPs saying it was time for "a serious and rational discussion to find a way out of a war, the meaning of which is lost on a large number of our fellow citizens as well as Malians themselves".
Lawmakers in France's National Assembly will hold a minute's silence later on Tuesday.
But Prime Minister Edouard Philippe insisted that the military deployment was "indispensable" to disrupt militant groups and ensure political stabilisation and economic development.
It's the "heaviest single loss for the French military in almost four decades", according to Agence France-Presse.
Mr Macron also hailed the "courage of all the French soldiers engaged in the Sahel and their determination to continue their mission".
Mali's ethnic crisis has often been exploited by Jihadist groups as well to boost recruitment and operations.
Mali Liptako region near the border with Niger and its Gourma region near the border with Burkina Faso have become strategic transitions for extremist groups as they are largely unguarded, the International Institute for Strategic Studies wrote last month.