US Secretary of State John Kerry has flown into Paris to meet with President François Hollande for the first time since the deadly Paris attacks of last Friday. Also on Tuesday, France became the first-ever EU member to invoke the Lisbon Treaty’s Article 42.7, calling on “mutual aid and assistance” from the 27 other member states in taking military action against Daesh.
Hollande is currently leading a charge to forge an inclusive single coalition to fight Daesh in Syrian and Iraq that includes the Russians. Kerry insisted the fight is being won.
“I’m convinced that over the course of the next weeks Daesh will feel even greater pressure. They’re feeling it today, they felt it yesterday, they’ve felt it in the past weeks, we’ve gained more territory, Daesh has less territory. We’ve taken out leaders, we’ve liberated significant communities,” he said.
On Monday night French security forces moved up a gear making 128 raids across the country against individuals with suspected terrorist links. Some 115,000 extra security personnel are now mobilised for France’s interior offensive in what Hollande has said is a “war”.
Also overnight Rafale and Mirage planes launched a second wave of air strikes in less than 24 hours against Raqqa, Daesh’s headquarters in Syria. France is expected to intensify its airstrikes over the coming days with the arrival in the eastern Mediterranean
of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.