French military jets have carried out the country’s first strikes against Islamic State group targets in Syria, officials confirmed Sunday.
The French president’s office said that Sunday’s strikes were based on intelligence gathered from air surveillance operations conducted over Syria during the past two weeks.
The operation to “fight the terrorist threat” of IS was coordinated with regional partners, a statement said.
French planes are already involved in air strikes against the jihadists in neighbouring Iraq. The IS fanatics have captured parts of Iraq and Syria where they carried out mayhem causing a wave of refugees to rush to European nations in the last couple of months. It did not give details of the positions targeted, which were identified in surveillance flights that began over Syria earlier this month.
Mr Hollande said on Sunday: “Civilian populations must be protected from all forms of violence, that of ISIL and other terrorist groups but also the murderous bombardments of Bashar Al Assad“.
“More than ever the urgency is putting in place a political transition”, including elements of the opposition and Assad’s regime, Hollande said.
In the diplomatic sphere, France also called this weekend for a “global solution” to the Syrian crisis, which has seen the country beset by four years of civil war.
Washington refuses to accept a peace process that would leave Assad in power and so has backed and armed small “moderate” rebel groups.
France’s foreign minister Laurent Fabius said Saturday Assad could not play any role in a political transition because this would not be credible to the Syrian people after so many deaths at the hands of his government, according to Reuters.
Russia, meanwhile, has rankled the west by strengthening its military presence in Syria in recent weeks.
France says it must target Isil in Syria to protect its national security.