Keyword: Syria

Frenchwoman on US terror blacklist detained in Syria

The 33-year-old daughter of a gendarme is 'being held in a Kurdish camp and has been 'interrogated and tortured' says her mother.

Macron rebuffs 'unacceptable' Assad attacks on France's role in Syria

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad the 'enemy' of his people and described comments by Assad that France's 'hands are soaked in Syrian blood' as 'unacceptable'. 

Macron predicts Islamic State group defeat in Syria by end of February

In a recorded television interview broadcast on Sunday by the France 2 channel, French President Emmanuel Macron said that following the rout of the so-called Islamic State group in Iraq 'I think that by the middle to the end of February, we will have won the war in Syria', adding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad 'will have to respond to his crimes before his people, before the international courts'.

Lafarge 'Islamic State payments' probe centres on 15m-dollar fund

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A Lafarge industrial plant in Paris. © Reuters A Lafarge industrial plant in Paris. © Reuters

A French investigation into alleged payments to jihadist groups, including Islamic State, by French cement-making giant Lafarge in order to ensure the functioning of one of its plants in Syria is focussing on a fund of more than 15 million dollars set aside by the company for its operations in the war-torn country, according to documents obtained by Mediapart. Fabrice Arfi reports.

Ex-LafargeHolcim CEO 'under formal investigation' in France

In June prosecutors launched an investigation into LafargeHolcim’s Syrian operations and its possible 'financing of a terrorist enterprise'.

French cement firm execs face probe over 'financing Islamic State'

By , and Julien Antoine
A Lafarge lorry photographed in the Paris region in April 2014. © Reuters A Lafarge lorry photographed in the Paris region in April 2014. © Reuters

Two former executives at giant French cement manufacturers Lafarge and the head of its security – a former election candidate for Marine Le Pen's far-right Front National – have been formally placed under investigation for alleged “financing of terrorism”. It follows an investigation by French prosecutors into links between the French group – now merged with a Swiss firm – and jihadist groups such as Islamic State. In 2013 and 2014 the cement group maintained its activities in zones in Syria which were at the time controlled by IS and other armed factions. Fabrice Arfi, Michel Deléan and Julien Antoine report.

The threat from Islamic State's 'fifth column' in Europe

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Eight of the terrorists behind attacks against Europe. From left to right and from top to bottom: Oussama Atar, Boubakeur el-Hakim, Salim Benghalem, Samir Nouad, Abdelnacer Benyoucef, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, Najim Laachraoui and Ahmad Alkhald. © DR Eight of the terrorists behind attacks against Europe. From left to right and from top to bottom: Oussama Atar, Boubakeur el-Hakim, Salim Benghalem, Samir Nouad, Abdelnacer Benyoucef, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, Najim Laachraoui and Ahmad Alkhald. © DR

Jihadi veterans have been seeking to cause disarray among European intelligence agencies with hoax attacks that distract from real ones and attempts to infiltrate public agencies and companies. As a result security official are having huge difficulties in trying to measure the true scale of the terrorist threat that faces us. In the last of this lengthy series of investigations on Islamic State's intelligence operations, Matthieu Suc reports on the dangers still posed by jihadist agents operating within Europe despite Islamic State's major reverses in Iraq and Syria.

Radicalised French mother who followed son to Syria jailed ten years

A Paris court on Friday sentenced Christine Rivière, 51, nicknamed 'Jihadi Granny', to a maximum ten years in jail for 'association with criminals preparing a terrorist attack' after she encouraged her son's activities within the ranks of the Islamic State group in Syria, where she later joined him on several occasions.

French paratrooper killed in Iraq-Syria military zone

Soldier from 13th regiment of paratroopers was the first French casualty since the anti-Islamic State 'Operation Chammal' was launched in 2014.

How Islamic State's secret services hunt down informers

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The French sniper who was the bodyguard of chief interrogator Abu Ubaida al-Maghribi. © DR The French sniper who was the bodyguard of chief interrogator Abu Ubaida al-Maghribi. © DR

The Islamic State employs the techniques of Western secret services to track down potential informers. This includes using CIA-inspired interrogation methods and agent provocateurs, and carrying out background checks on prisoners and new recruits from Europe. But as Matthieu Suc reports in this second article on the jihadist organisation's secret services, this does not mean they are always immune from double agents.

Syrian actress and Assad opponent Fadwa Suleiman dies in Paris

The stage and television actress, who was active in encouraging a cross-denomination opposition to the Damascus regime of President Bashar al-Assad and who found refuge in France after taking part in the 2011 uprising in Syria, died overnight Thursday from cancer at the age of 44.

France opens probe into Lafarge payments to armed groups in Syria

A French judicial investigation has been opened into alleged payments made by French-Swiss cement-maker LafargeHolcim to armed groups in war-torn Syria, including the Islamic State group, in order to keep a cement-producing plant operating in the country.

How Assad regime built chemical arsenal with aid of Germany and other countries

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Russia, Armenia and the former West Germany were all major suppliers of technology and raw materials for Syria's programme of chemical weapon production, exiled Syrians who worked on the project have told Mediapart. They also say that, in violation of intentional law, the Damascus regime still has a secret arsenal of up to 35 tonnes of chemical weapons. René Backmann reports.

Revealed: Assad regime's plan to use chemical weapons against opposition in 2009

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Sarin production site at Al Dumayr in Syria which was partially destroyed by the United Nations. Sarin production site at Al Dumayr in Syria which was partially destroyed by the United Nations.

Exiled Syrian scientists have told Mediapart that the Damascus regime drew up plans to use chemical weapons against internal opposition two years before the start of the current civil war in 2011. The scientists, who were involved in the making of the weapons but who defected after misgivings about its use inside the country, say the country's president Bashar al-Assad had become unnerved by protests in Iran in 2009 and the regime had ordered seven military basses to be made ready to store chemical weapons – including sarin gas. René Backmann reports.

The Syrian family waiting for a French visa to safety

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The family at the Grand Station restaurant in Aleppo before the war: the photo has been altered to protect their identity. The family at the Grand Station restaurant in Aleppo before the war: the photo has been altered to protect their identity.

Many Syrian refugees living in Turkey have gone to the French Consulate in Istanbul in the hope of obtaining a visa that will allow them to travel to France in safety. But only a small number ever get granted this precious document. Mediapart's Carine Fouteau tells the story of one Kurdish family from Syria who were twice forced to flee the fighting and who are now desperately waiting for a visa from the French authorities that would restore hope to their shattered lives.