Two days after Paris massacre, French authorities say their airstrikes targeted ISIL facilities
France launched its biggest air strikes in Syria to date, targeting Raqqa which is occupied by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's (ISIL) which claims the city as the capital of its self-declared "caliphate." The strikes follow the vow by France's President Francois Hollande to wage an "unforgiving" war on the perpetrators of Friday's massacre in Paris that killed more than 130 people.
French forces are escalating airstrike against ISIL in Syria 3:30
A statement by the French defense ministry said Sunday evening's raid involved 10 fighter planes launched simultaneously from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, and that 20 bombs had been dropped. The statement said that the operation, carried out in coordination with U.S. forces had struck command, recruitment, munitions and training facilities. There was no independent confirmation of what was damaged in the raid, or of any casualties.
French authorities face the same dilemma as the U.S. in using air power against ISIL in urban centers controlled by the group, where the risk of inflicting civilian casualtiesis higher. Refugees who fled the ISIL controlled city last summer told Al Jazeera that the group had managed to establish a harsh form of governance over the city despite frequent coalition bombing raids. Anti-ISIL activists also told Al Jazeera last month that the group had begun forcibly conscripting local young men into its fighting forces.
Writing on Twitter, the anti-ISIL activist group Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered said air strikes had also hit a stadium, a museum, clinics, a hospital, a chicken farm and a local governmental building.
Water and electricity were cut across the city as a result of the raids, the group said, adding that at least 30 air strikes had been carried out.
The group said no civilian casualties had been immediately reported.
Speaking on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Turkey, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said France had the "legitimacy" to take action against Islamic State after Friday's terror attacks in Paris.
He said the decision to conduct the airstrikes was a "political" one and that France had to be "present and active" following Friday's attacks which killed more than 130 people.
Al Jazeera and wire services
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