In the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks, France has retaliated by launching massive air strikes against the Islamic State (IS). This is also in keeping with French President Francois Hollande’s promise to fight back. Launching air strikes on the IS group’s de-facto capital in Syria on Sunday night, a jihadi training camp and a munitions dump in Raqqa city were destroyed.
Launching its biggest ever counter-offensive against the IS till date, France has said its retaliation is totally justified. “Twelve aircrafts including 10 fighter jets dropped 20 bombs in the biggest air strikes since France extended its campaign against the extremist group to Syria in September,” a Defence Ministry statement said. “It was normal to take the initiative and action and France had the legitimacy to do so. We have done it already in the past. We have conducted new airstrikes in Raqqa on Sunday,” France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.
The bombings have cut off water and electricity supplies across Raqqa. Reacting to the airstrikes, the IS’s media arm, Amaaq claimed that, “the airstrikes hit sites that had already been abandoned, and that no one was killed.” The rise of IS presence in Europe has been doing the rounds for a while, but the scale of attack in Paris came as a blow to the West. Reports of Iraqi intelligence services warning the US and its allies of a possible attack has been reported by a few media sources.
It is also unclear if the US and other NATO members would escalate air strikes against the IS. However, Russia and US are contemplating coordinating strikes against IS in Syria after a meeting of the International Syria Support Group took place between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna on November 14. “Of course, we discussed it today… We are convinced that coordination is in the interests of us and all humanity. We should not allow terrorists to take over the region just because US, Russia, and the rest of the world cannot agree on some things,” Mr Lavrov said. In addition to Mr Lavrov’s statement, Mr Kerry said, “once the political process gets moving — ISSG aims to have a new government in place in Syria through an election under a new constitution in 18 months — it would open ‘enormous possibilities for other cooperation’. And on the data and the intelligence and counterterrorism overall, I think it’s always better when all countries are cooperating and able to work together.”
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