France launches air strikes in Syria

PARIS - France has carried out its first air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria.

French planes destroyed a training camp in the eastern town of Deir al-Zour, President Francois Hollande said.

A US-led coalition has been carrying out air strikes against IS in Syria and Iraq for more than a year.

Speaking in New York, Mr Hollande said a political solution was needed to end the Syrian crisis, but President Bashar al-Assad could not be part of it.

France, like the UK, has previously confined its air strikes against the Islamic State group to Iraqi airspace.

The UK announced earlier this month it had carried out a drone strike against two British citizens in Syria but has yet to fly manned operations in Syrian airspace.

The French air strikes in Syria reflect the shifting emphasis in the war against the Islamic State. Before now, France said that international law prevented it from attacking targets in Syria, and it was adamant that it would do nothing to help - even indirectly - the Assad government.

But the situation has changed. France now says it has evidence that IS planned terror attacks against it from Syria - making air strikes against the militants legitimate under UN rules on self-defence.

The biggest change though is that France has swallowed hard and accepted that getting rid of Mr Assad is no longer the priority.

Paris will not ever say it too loudly - because it used to be the Syrian president's most outspoken opponent - but at the moment the fight against IS trumps everything else.

Comments (2)

Syria is under attack by terrorists, and the West wants both the government and the terrorists out.They never cease to amaze, these Western clowns.

machakachaka - 28 September 2015

Clowns you say, clowns they may be but they kick where it hurts!

Bingo wokwaGutu - 28 September 2015

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