France joined US air strikes against ISIS in Iraq

Sep 20, 2014 12:10 IST

France on 19 September 2014 joined US air strikes against ISIS in Iraq. French jets have carried out their first strikes on IS depot in north-east Iraq.

Four Rafale planes hit the town of Zumar, killing dozens of militants.

Earlier, Iraqi government had requested France government for air support. In Response, President of France Hollande extended his support to Iraq but the French jets will not target IS in neighbouring Syria. He also insisted that he would not send ground troops.

The US has carried out more than 170 air strikes against the jihadist group in Iraq since mid-August 2014.

IS remains in control of dozens of cities and towns in Iraq and Syria, where it has declared a caliphate.

Analysis

France is the first of Washington's allies to strike at IS targets. On 15 September 2014, France hosted an international conference on the crisis in Paris.

The mission saw 26 countries pledge their commitment to support the new Iraqi government in its fight against IS by any means necessary, including appropriate military assistance.

Further, on 18 September 2014, the US Senate approved President Barack Obama's plan to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels to fight IS.

The group has made it clear that its air strikes will be restricted to IS targets in Iraq and that there will be no French troops involved in fighting on the ground.

The UK has also been conducting reconnaissance flights in support of the US air campaign.

This geographical restriction of French air operations underscores the complexity of President Obama's stated aim of degrading and disrupting IS activities in Syria too.

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