27 September 2015, NYT: Thousands Enter Syria to Join ISIS Despite Global Efforts
17 September 2015, NYT: France Says It Will Join Air Campaign Against ISIS in Syria
8 September 2015, NYT: Britain Says It Killed 3 ISIS Suspects in First Drone Strike in Syria
SEPT. 27, 2015
France Says Its Airstrikes Hit an ISIS Camp in Syria
By AURELIEN BREEDEN
PARIS -- In France's first airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, warplanes destroyed a training camp, President Francois Hollande announced on Sunday.
At a news conference in New York, where he had arrived for the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Hollande said that the warplanes had attacked the training camp in eastern Syria after it had been identified by French air surveillance with help from the coalition of Western and Middle Eastern states conducting the air campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh.
"Our forces reached their objectives: The camp was completely destroyed," Mr. Hollande said. "Six jets were used, including five Rafales, and they were able to ensure that our operation did not have any consequences for the civilian population."
He added that France might launch other strikes in the coming weeks if necessary, with the goal of "identifying targets that are training camps or places where we know that the Daesh terrorist group can threaten the security of our country."
Prime Minister Manuel Valls also confirmed to reporters  in southeastern France that the airstrikes had taken place.
"We are striking Daesh in Syria because this terrorist organization prepares and organizes attacks in France from Syria, from these sanctuaries," Mr. Valls said. "We are therefore acting in self-defense, which Article 51 of the United Nations Charter permits us to do."
Mr. Hollande's announcement did not come as a surprise. He said this month that France would start air surveillance missions  over Syria, and a week later, his defense minister confirmed  that France was gathering intelligence to conduct airstrikes on Islamic State targets there.
France was already involved in the air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq, but it had been reluctant to hit the group in Syria out of fear of indirectly helping the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.
The French government has shifted its position in the face of fears that the Islamic State is recruiting  disaffected youths in France and sending or coordinating with European fighters back home to stage attacks. The flow of Syrian refugees  arriving in Europe has also apparently pushed the French government to be more active in the conflict.
In a statement released by his office on Sunday, Mr. Hollande said a "global response" to the chaos in Syria was required.
"Civilian populations must be protected against all forms of violence, that of Daesh and other terrorist groups, but also against the deadly bombings by Bashar al-Assad," he said.
France has repeatedly said that Mr. Assad's departure is necessary for a political solution to the Syrian crisis.