Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

France Moves War against ISIS to Syria and Alarm in Belgium
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French aircraft carrier

French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle anchored in the eastern Mediterranean in front of the Syrian coast to participate in the war against ISIS (AFP)

A week after the bloody attacks that Paris witnessed and which ISIS claimed responsibility for, France yesterday implied that it is moving its fight against this terrorist organisation to ISIS strongholds in Syria and Iraq. The French Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian announced yesterday that the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier that arrived in the eastern Mediterranean is now ready to launch its warplanes as of today (Monday) to strike ISIS sites.

Le Drian spoke of the necessity to strike Mosul in Iraq where political centres of the organisation are situated, and Raqqa in Syria where training camps and foreign fighters are based. The minister also mentioned that the premise of sending French special forces “is not discarded today” but that the elimination of ISIS requires, in his opinion, “raids in support of the coalition and sending forces on the ground” that may be Kurdish or affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, pointing out that this “will need time”. The President for Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani, for his part in an interview with the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche yesterday confirmed his willingness to send Peshmerga forces to the city of Raqqa in Syria to free it of ISIS if an international coalition formed of all the international forces fighting ISIS was established.

A media advisor to the Kurdistan Region’s presidency office Kafah Mahmoud told “Asharq Al-Awsat” that President Masoud Barzani talked about the readiness of the region to send Peshmerga forces to free Raqqa from ISIS in the case that a big, international coalition which brought together all forces fighting ISIS was created, and that if this coalition needs Peshmerga forces or asked the Peshmerga to join them as a force which has proven its worthiness to fight ISIS for the last year and a half, achieved great victories and has attracted the international community’s admiration, then it will be a part of this international coalition after gaining parliament’s approval.

Meanwhile, Belgium expanded its campaign to track extremists whose presence has led to Brussels being on the highest security alert level. Security officials decided to maintain the state of alert at the maximum level for another day i.e. Monday. They also decided that metro network stations and schools would remain closed because of a “serious and imminent” threat of several attacks occurring.