November 2015 – PARIS, France – France made an unprecedented demand for its European Union allies to support its military action against the Islamic State group as it launched new airstrikes on the militants’ Syrian stronghold, days after attacks in Paris linked to the group killed at least 129 people. France invoked a never-before-used article of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty obliging members of the 28-nation bloc to give “aid and assistance by all the means in their power” to a member country that is “the victim of armed aggression on its territory.” French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said EU partners could help “either by taking part in France’s operations in Syria or Iraq, or by easing the load or providing support for France in other operations.”
French military spokesman Col. Gilles Jaron said the latest airstrikes in the Islamic State group’s de-facto capital of Raqqa destroyed a command post and training camp. On Monday, President Francois Hollande vowed to forge a united coalition capable of defeating the jihadists at home and abroad. The Paris attacks on Friday, claimed by IS, have galvanized international determination to confront the militants. Hollande has said the victims came from at least 19 nations, and the international community, led by the U.S. and Russia, must overcome their deep-seated divisions over Syria to destroy IS on its home turf.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew to France as a gesture of solidarity and met Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Tuesday. Standing with Hollande at the Elysee Palace, Kerry said the carnage in the French capital on Friday, along with recent attacks in Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey, made it clear that more pressure must be brought to bear on the Islamic extremists. Kerry said, “we have to step up our efforts to hit them at the core where they’re planning these things and also obviously to do more on borders in terms the movement of people.” Earlier, he told U.S. Embassy staff Friday’s attacks were an assault on civilization and common decency.
“This is just raw terror,” he said, vowing that the campaign against IS will succeed. “We will end the scourge of Daesh,” he said, referring to the group by its Arabic acronym. Kerry also said a breakthrough in negotiations over Syria’s civil war could be “weeks away.” Speaking to reporters at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to France, Kerry said the ceasefire envisioned by the political process agreed upon in Vienna on Saturday would exponentially help efforts to fight Islamic State as well as end the drawn-out Syrian conflict, which has gone on for over four years. –Chicago Tribune