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Minister says French jets hit ISIS oil sites in Syria

AFP
Published : Jan 2, 2016, 5:56 am IST
Updated : Jan 2, 2016, 5:56 am IST

French warplanes bombed ISIS group oil installations close to its Syrian stronghold of Raqa on Friday, as France’s defence minister visited the Jordanian air base where the jets took off.

French warplanes bombed ISIS group oil installations close to its Syrian stronghold of Raqa on Friday, as France’s defence minister visited the Jordanian air base where the jets took off.

“I have been informed of the operations which took place overnight against oil sites. We must continue with this logic,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said during a New Year trip to the base, where around 250 French personnel are deployed.

The first French strikes of 2016 were carried out by two Mirage 2000s around 2 am, according to a military source on the base.

France is a key member of the US-led coalition that is carrying out airstrikes on ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria.

The aerial campaign was stepped up after the deadly attacks claimed by ISIS in Paris in November 2015.

Bombing raids have increasingly focused on ISIS’ oil infrastructure, which provides a key part of the jihadists’ funding.

Two other jets took off from the Jordanian base on Friday morning to serve as aerial support for Kurdish peshmerga forces battling ISIS around Sinjar, the northern Iraqi town that was cleared of the jihadists in November, the military source said.

They returned after five hours to accompany Mr Le Drian’s plane as it landed in Jordan, the source added.

The name of the base, where six Mirage fighter jets are stationed, is not being disclosed at the request of authorities in Amman.

Other French military assets in the region include the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, currently stationed in the Gulf, and six Rafale jets in the UAE.

France carried out more than 390 strikes against ISIS in 2015.

Location: Jordan