Situation in Syria and Iraq
Paris, November 19, 2014
Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defense. Mr. Deputy, I will chiefly respond to your questions about Daesh, the so-called “Islamic State,” a group that I would call the “terrorist army.” First of all, Daesh is continuing to exert a great deal of pressure on Iraq’s provinces and their inhabitants. Attacks have recently been carried out against the Peshmerga in Sinjar. Extremely dangerous and violent acts have also been perpetrated in Anbar province, near Baghdad.
Having said that, as you recalled, Iraqi forces recently retook control of Baiji Refinery. At the same time, the Peshmerga are organizing themselves in order to reclaim territories. This is especially the case in the region of Sinjar and around the Mosul Dam. This success has only been made possible thanks to the coalition’s air support. France has played a crucial role in this coalition from the outset. On Friday, November 14, we therefore successfully conducted three strikes against positions near Kirkuk. On the same night, French fighter jets carried out a major raid with very positive results against the same positions near Kirkuk.
French air forces will be strengthened. Until now there were 9 Rafale fighters at the Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates. They will be reinforced by 6 Mirage fighter jets to be placed in Jordan in order to support our action. I would also like to reaffirm that we have an anti-aircraft frigate in the area and that we are training the Peshmerga and the Iraqi forces to handle the weapons that we are sending them. Mr. Deputy, France is assuming its international responsibilities and is defending its security.