PARIS: France launched a new air strike overnight in Syria against an Islamic State training camp and further strikes will follow, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday.
“France hit Daesh (Islamic State) in Syria last night in Raqqa. It is not the first time, nor will it be the last time,” Le Drian said on Europe 1 radio.
“French Rafale jets delivered bombs on this training camp and the targets were met,” he added.
“We struck because we know that in Syria, particularly around Raqqa, there are training camps for foreign fighters whose mission is not fight Daesh on the Levant but to come to France, in Europe to carry out attacks,” he said.
France launched its first air strike in Syria on September 27, destroying an Islamic State training camp near Deir al-Zor in the east of the country, saying at the time it was acting in “self defence”.
Le Drian said that the Islamic State was France’s “main enemy” and that Russian air strikes were mostly hitting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents in Syria and not Islamic State targets.
He reiterated that Assad, whom he said had killed 250,000 of his own people, could not be part of a political solution in Syria.
France, which has provided weapons and logistical support to rebels linked to the Free Syrian Army in the past, has repeatedly said Assad would have to go before government troops and rebels could together defeat Islamic State.