France starts anti-ISIS air strikes in Syria

French presidency says air strikes started against ISIS and six French jets destroyed ISIS traning camp in Syria

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

France's President Francois Hollande gives a news conference after European Union leaders extraordinary summit on the migrant crisis, in Brussels, Belgium September 24, 2015.

France said on Sunday first air strikes against ISIS militants have started in a join effort to uproot the widespread insurgency that currently controls large swaths in Iraq and Syria. Six French jets targeted and destroyed ISIS drill camp without effecting any civilian casualties in eastern Syria. 

"Our country thus confirms its resolute commitment to fight against the terrorist threat represented by Daesh (ISIS). We will strike each time that our national security is at stake," the French presidency said in a statement.

France has already been operating against ISIS in Iraq, and was set to start actual air strikes in Syria after reconnaissance flights over ISIS held territories began this month.

The air strikes in Syria were guided by information collected during reconnaissance flights in coordination with its partners. More strikes "could take place in the coming weeks if necessary" said Hollande and he thanked the U.S. for providing information on ISIS targets as well.

France also recently expressed support for UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura's initiative, in order to work towards a political transition for the country.

"Civil populations must be protected against all forms of violence, those coming from Daesh and other terrorist groups, but also against the deadly bombings of (Syrian) President Bashar al-Assad" the statement said.

"More than ever it is urgent to set up a political transition that brings together elements from the regime and the moderate opposition,"

‘Assad can’t be in the political transition’

Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister said on Saturday that Syrian President, Bashar al Assad may not play any role in the political transition Syria needs, because of the agony his forces caused, and added his involvement “would not be credible to the Syrian people”.

French government also expects for Russia to clarify its military intentions in Syria in the coming days.

"(Assad) is responsible for the current chaos. If we were to say to the Syrians that the future lies with Assad, then we will expose ourselves to failure," Fabius said at a news conference.

Fabius also said France would will start a fresh push in the coming days to a relaunch the Middle East peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, warning that the status quo could benefit ISIS militants.

TRTWorld and agencies