Keyword: Syria

Why so few French jihadists have returned from Syria

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Ruins in the Syrian city of Raqqa, once a bastion of Islamic State. © Reuters Ruins in the Syrian city of Raqqa, once a bastion of Islamic State. © Reuters

Following the military rout of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq, large numbers of French jihadists were forecast to return home. But in fact, those who have made the journey back represent relatively few of the estimated 700 who joined the ranks of IS in the Middle East. Since 2016, just 64 men and women jihadists have returned – and only seven so far this year. One principal reason is the logistical difficulties for those fleeing the zone and the high fees demanded by people smugglers. But the situation presents a potential security threat in that those who escape by their own means can become invisible to intelligence services.   Matthieu Suc reports.

 

French FM says 'indiscriminate' attacks on Idlib may be war crimes

Speaking in parliament, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the Damascus regime of Bashar al-Assa and its ally Russia might be held to account for war crimes over indiscriminate aerial bombing of 'civilian populations and hospitals' in Idlib, the beseiged last major stronghold of active opposition to the regime.

Cement firm Lafarge face French probe over Syria militant payoffs

French company that later merged with Swiss firm is under formal investigation into claims it funded armed Syrian groups to keep a plant open. 

Phone tap reveals panic of Lafarge shareholders over Islamic State funding affair

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Bruno Lafont when he was CEO of Lafarge, on February 18th, 2015. © Reuters Bruno Lafont when he was CEO of Lafarge, on February 18th, 2015. © Reuters

An intercepted telephone call involving the former boss of French cement firm Lafarge, which is accused of funding terrorist group Islamic State to keep its Syrian cement plant in production, shows the extend of the “worry” that has gripped the company, which has since become a Franco-Swiss multinational. Just how far – and to whom – will the current judicial investigation extend? Fabrice Arfi reports.

France asked US not to bomb Lafarge factory in Syria in 2014

Email shows that France's Syrian envoy thought it 'legitimate' to approach US over cement plant in area controlled at the time by Islamic State.

Red carpet treatment belies differences as Macron arrives in US

Presidents Trump and Macron are expected to tackle pressing foreign policy issues from Iran deal to Syria as French leader starts US state visit.

French frigate's cruise missiles 'failed to launch' during Syria strikes

One of three French navy frigates taking part with the US and Britain in last weekend's strikes against chemical weapons sites in Syria found itself unable to launch its cruise missiles, the first time France had employed them in action, requiring one of the other vessels to take over its role and fire its own missiles, this time successfully, against the designated targets.

France to strip Syria's Assad of Légion d'honneur award

The French presidency confirmed on Monday that a procedure has begun to strip Bashar al-Assad of his Légion d'honneur award, France's highest honour for actions of civil merit, given to him in 2001 by France's then-president Jacques Chirac.

France warns more strikes will meet any further use of chemical arms

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Saturday that the air strikes by the US, France and Britain on Syrian targets overnight were 'proportionate and targeted' and warned that they would be repeated if the Damascus regime used chemical weapons in the future, but also insisted that France will pursue diplomatic channels to help reach an end to the Syrian civil war.

US, France and UK launch strikes on Syrian 'chemical plant' sites

France has joined the US and Britain in attacks overnight Friday against sites in Syria identified as production plants for chemical weapons, in response to a suspected chemical attack on the Syrian rebel-held town of Douma last week.

Paris repeates pledge to retaliate if Assad chemical arms strike proven

French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux on Tuesday reiterated previous warnings that France would 'respond' against the Damascus regime if evidence proves it used chemical weapons in an attack on rebel-held Douma at the weekend.

Saudi prince in Paris for talks on Yemen, Syria and Iran deal

After tough talks with France last year over Iran, Prince Mohammed's regime is not expected to announce any new major trade deals with Paris.

Macron vows support for northern Syrians and Kurdish militia

French president 'paid tribute' to Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces while Kurds say he has also promised to send more troops to area.

France tells national media to halt all travel to Syria

The French foreign ministry has written to the country's news organisations urging that due to the 'upsurge' in violence in Syria, 'in particular eastern Ghouta and the Afrin region' they should suspend sending staff to the war-torn country.

France's plans to deal with Islamic State's 'child assassins'

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Image from an Islamic State propaganda video broadcast in December 2016. © DR Image from an Islamic State propaganda video broadcast in December 2016. © DR

A jihadist from Toulouse in south-west France who fought in Syria has claimed that Islamic State has been planning attacks to be carried out by children in Europe. Though only one suspicious case has been found among the 70 or so minors who have returned to France from the Syria and Iraq battle zones so far, the French authorities are taking the threat seriously. According to Mediapart's information, children aged as young as 13 could be placed in custody when they arrive in France from that region. Matthieu Suc reports.