France launches its first airstrikes against ISIS in Syria

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The French military has carried out its first airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, according to a statement from the office of France’s presidency.

The country had announced earlier this month that it would expand its aerial campaign against ISIS in Iraq — which it began a year ago — to include the militant group’s positions in Syria.

The French president’s office said that the strikes in Syria, which began Sunday, were based on intelligence gathered from air surveillance operations conducted over Syria during the past two weeks.

“Our country confirms its firm commitment to the fight against the terrorist threat Daesh,” the statement said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. “We will strike whenever our national security is at stake.”

President Francois Hollande, speaking on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, described the camp as a “threat to our country.”

“We reached our goal and the whole training camp was destroyed,” Hollande said.

Six aircraft were used in the mission, which was led by the French but closely coordinated with the U.S.-led coalition, he said.

Despite the “horrible acts” committed by ISIS, Hollande placed the blame for the Syrian crisis on the country’s long time strongman Bashar al-Assad.

“Bashar al Assad is the main person at fault, although Daesh commits horrible acts,” Hollande said. “The future of Syria cannot happen with Bashar al Assad.”


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