France to Take More Active Role in Fight Against ISIL in Wake of Attacks
WASHINGTON — In the wake of the tragic November 13 attacks in Paris that left over 100 dead, the French government will begin intensifying air operations in Iraq and Syria in an attempt to combat ISIL in the region.
Over the weekend, Defense Secretary Ash Carter spoke with French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian to discuss strategies to combat the growing threat of ISIL.
France has been a part of Operation Inherent Resolve and has preformed airstrikes in both Iraq and Syria, however the number of strikes they have preformed is currently unknown.
As well as combining military forces, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook stated the United States will continue sharing intelligence with France and have decided to “bolster” their intelligence sharing.
Carter and Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper have already supplied new instructions to U.S. Military personnel that will allow them to share operational and intelligence information. No further information about the scope of the intelligence-sharing program was readily available.
“This was an opportunity to share actions that both governments are taking in the wake of the attack,” Cook said about Carter’s call with his French counterpart.
Meanwhile, Operation Inherent Resolve has continued airstrikes in Iraq and Syria while ground forces have retaken Ramadi, Beiji and Sinjar from ISIL, according to OIR spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren.
Warren added that an oil refinery in Beiji was returned to the Iraq Ministry of Oil last week as well.
Warren also gave an update to Operation Tidal Wave II which aims to destroy ISIL controlled oil fields in an attempt to degrade their financial capabilities. The operation is now half over.
It is not entirely clear what the future of OIR and similar operations in the region will be in the wake of the attacks in Paris and Beirut.
As of November 12, OIR has preformed 5,321 airstrikes in Iraq and 2,804 in Syria and as of October 31, it has cost $5 billion with the average cost being $11 million for 450 days of operation.