France Strikes At ISIS Through An Intensive Bombing Campaign In Syria — REPORT
Just days after six attacks in Paris left approximately 130 people dead, the French military conducted airstrikes against ISIS in Raqqa, Syria, a city held by ISIS militants. According to a statement from the French defense ministry, 10 fighter jets dropped at least 20 bombs, reportedly hitting an ISIS command center, a jihadist recruitment center, an arms and munitions depot, and a "terrorist training camp." Often defined as the "ISIS capital," the city of Raqqa was a prime example of why so many Syrian citizens are fleeing the country.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the terror attacks, stating on social media, "France needs to know it still remains at the top of the target list of the Islamic state." According to Al Jazeera, ISIS has been expanding throughout Syria, having taken control of daily life, such as dress code, taxes, education, drivers licenses, and the judicial system. ISIS, which is also known as ISIL, the Islamic State, or Daesh, now controls more than one-third of Syria.
A group of activists named "Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently" has long been recording ISIS-led violence in the city, as the militant organization took over control about two years ago. The founder of the group, who doesn't reveal his name out of concern for his safety, told NPR, "The city was suffering a lot. The people are suffering a lot and nobody is care about them [sic]. It was completely silent. So we bring this name to turn a light on this city that this city is suffering and is suffering silently."
Officials have said that the assailants involved in the coordinated attacks in Paris had communicated with ISIS members based in Syria, The New York Times reported. Evidence of the attacks pointed to the attackers likely having at least some training, and the coordination of the six attacks around the city would have required extensive planning.
French President Francois Hollande promised that France would be "ruthless" in its response, though many might not have expected such a strong response to come so quickly. Raqqa was recently the site of an U.S.-led airstrike that authorities are "reasonably certain" killed Jihadi John, also known as Mohammed Emwazi, the man seen in ISIS videos executing many people.