The French government confirmed that their Air Force conducted airstrikes against ISIS in Syria on Sunday morning. France had restricted its activity against the Islamic State (ISIS)to neighboring Iraq and, until three weeks ago, reconnaissance flights over Syria. The Iraqi government encourages foreign intervention against ISIS, however Syrian President Bashar Assad opposes foreign powers entering his country’s airspace.
French President Francois Hollande confirmed that their air-force struck several targets inside Syria.
“Our country thus confirms its resolute commitment to fight against the terrorist threat represented by the Islamic State (ISIS),” the President’s office said. “We will strike each time that our national security is at stake.”
“Civilian populations must be protected against all forms of violence, that of ISIS and other terrorist groups, but also against the murderous bombings of (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad.”
Syrian airspace is becoming crowded with foreign planes. Russia is significantly increasing its presence in Syria, putting it at odds with a stumbling US led effort. The US, like France,is dedicated to replacing President Assad and fighting ISIS by bolstering rebel groups they consider to be moderate. Russia has entered the scene to bolster Assad, their strongest and most important ally in the region. This has pitted them against the moderate groups the US supports.
The Syrian civil war has dragged on for four years and killed over 250,000 people, leading to a wave of refugees flooding into Europe. It is expected to be the focus of this week’s meeting of the UN General Assembly.
Britain is till limiting its anti-ISIS airstrikes to Iraq, however earlier in the month it confirmed an unmanned drone strike in Syria which killed two British-born jihadists.