French President Announces Further Escalation of Strikes on ISIS

Cyprus Offers to Host French Warplanes

Since Friday’s attacks in Paris, France has increased the number of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, albeit with limited practical success. Today, President Francois Hollande has announced there will be further escalations of the air war, spanning into both Iraq and Syria.

Exactly what this new escalation will amount to is unclear, as previous French and US airstrikes, centering on Raqqa, reportedly are hitting mostly empty buildings and empty fields for want of any real ISIS targets to attack which wouldn’t risk massive civilian casualties in the city.

The EU’s most ISIS-adjacent member nation, Cyprus, has announced today that it is offering to host French warplanes, which would put them just 70 miles off the Syrian coast. Though this is close, ISIS territory is on the opposite side of the country from the coast, so it’s still a fairly long flight.

This is a big shift for the Cypriot government, as the public has long opposed using their island as a launching pad for European attacks on the Middle East, but may reflect French pushes for “mutual defense” at the EU since Friday’s attacks.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.