BEIRUT: France’s first air strike on the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group in Syria killed at least 30 jihadists, including 12 child soldiers, a monitoring group said on Wednesday.
“The French air strike on Sunday struck an IS training camp in eastern Syria killed at least 30 IS fighters including 12 from the ‘Cubs of the Caliphate,” said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
IS calls its child soldiers “Cubs of the Caliphate.”
Abdel Rahman said foreign IS fighters were also among the dead, and that the strike had wounded around 20 people.
The raid took place in Syria’s eastern province of Deir Ezzor, near the Albu Kamal border crossing used by IS to link the Syrian and Iraqi parts of its so-called “caliphate.”
President Francois Hollande said on Sunday that more strikes could follow in the coming weeks.
“We struck militarily an extremely sensitive site for IS,” said French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, describing it as a “strategic hub” for militants travelling between Iraq and Syria.
It was France’s first air strike in Syria as part of the US-led coalition fighting the extremist group there and in Iraq.
France was already bombing IS targets in Iraq and had carried out 215 of the nearly 4,500 air strikes there.
France, which has so far only taken part in strikes in Iraq, began reconnaissance flights over Syria earlier this month in order to gather information on IS positions.
France said the strikes were conducted using information collected during these reconnaissance flights and had been launched in coordination with its partners.
France’s foreign minister Laurent Fabius said on Saturday that Bashar al-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.