Russia-France military cooperation in Syria, a first since World War II

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Rajeev Verma
Date  18/11/2015

France and Russia have agreed to step up military cooperation to fight against the Daesh Takfiri terrorists in war-torn Syria.

The agreement was reached following a phone conversation between French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin announced in a statement on Tuesday.

“The two leaders focused their attention on bilateral and multilateral cooperation in combating terrorism,” read the statement. “This includes closer ties and joint operations between the military command and intelligence services of Russia and France in Syria.”

According to the statement, following the conversation Putin ordered the Russian navy to establish contact with a French naval group led by the Charles de Gaulle, an aircraft carrier set to depart for Syria by the end of the week.

“The French naval group, led by the air carrier, will soon reach your area of operations. We need to establish direct contact with it, and treat it as an ally,” Putin said, adding, “We need to develop a joint action plan for both sea and air operations.”

The statement also noted that Putin and Hollande are set to meet on November 26. 

Russia’s long-range bombers join the fight

Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry has announced that the country’s fleet of strategic bombers has begun striking Daesh targets in Syria.

“We are conducting a mass airstrike campaign against Daesh targets in Syria. We have now doubled the number of sorties, which is allowing us to conduct operations throughout the length and breadth of the country,” said Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu while addressing a meeting of the country`s Security Council in Moscow. 

He noted that Russia’s Tu-95, Tu-22 and Tu-160 strategic bombers have entered operations in Syria.

Also on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry released footage of its bombers carrying out sorties over Syria. 

Russia launched its air campaign against the Daesh Takfiris in Syria on September 30 upon a request from the Damascus government.

France hitting Daesh hard

On Tuesday evening, France`s Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that 10 French fighter jets carried out raids against Takfiri targets in Syria.

He added that once the de Gaulle arrives France will have a total of 36 fighter jets in the region.

The French warplanes carried out their first strikes against alleged Daesh positions in Raqqah on November 15, after at least 132 people were killed and 350 others injured as Daesh terrorists struck several venues in the French capital Paris late on Friday.

 

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