France launches air strikes on IS positions

France has carried out its first air strikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) in Syria, the office of President François Hollande announced on Sunday. “We will strike each time that our national security is at stake”, the Elysee said in a statement.


“As the Syrian crisis became a war Iraqi militias went to Damascus to protect holy shrines there and to defend the Assad regime, in a deal brokered by Iran“, our correspondent said.

The USA also refuses to cooperate with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who Washington has insisted should step down.

France has ruled out sending ground forces to Syria but says air strikes are essential “to fight the terrorist threat” from Isil.

Iraq has long had close ties with neighboring Iran and has coordinated with Tehran in fighting IS – which controls about a third of Iraq and Syria in a self-declared caliphate.

Shortly after they seized the city, Islamic State fighters warned residents not to venture outside Ramadi because, they said, they had laid a web of bombs to hinder any incursion by government forces.

Australia is taking part in the effort and is already bombing ISIS positions in Iraq, but has not agreed to an USA request to expand its own operations against jihadists into Syria.

Secretary of State John Kerry gave that optimistic assessment following his talks in New York Saturday with Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif ahead of the opening of the annual United Nations General Assembly debate on Monday. President Obama will take stock of the worldwide campaign to counter the Islamic State at the United Nations on Tuesday, a public accounting that comes as American intelligence analysts have been preparing a confidential assessment that concludes that almost 30,000 foreign fighters have traveled to Iraq and Syria from more than 100 countries since 2011.

Assad’s brutal crushing of the 2011 peaceful demonstration in Daraa, which led to the civil war and the violence in Iraq and Syria, enabled the convergence of scores of extremist groups into Syria.

“What we (France) want is to show that we are present in Syria, that we must be included in the political solution that is being drawn up”. Islamic State and the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front have strengthened their grip on parts of Syria in recent months although the Assad regime maintains its coastal stronghold.


“This still isn’t very clear; therefore the conversations that we are going to have…or that other colleagues of mine will have…is going to allow, I hope, to clarify the situation in a positive way”, he said.