Mammoth French aircraft carrier kicks off anti-ISIL operation in Syria

Monday will see the beginning of a combat mission by the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle against Islamic State militants in Syria.

The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is already on a stand-by in the Eastern Mediterranean, from where it will launch bombing raids on ISIL targets in Syria as of November 23, RIA Novosti reported.
Earlier, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed that “the aircraft carrier will be ready for a mission in Syria from Monday,” a statement that was echoed by commander of the vessel Eric Malbrunot.
“The Charles de Gaulle will be able to stage strikes [against ISIL] as of November 23,” Malbrunot said.
The exact position of the Charles de Gaulle was not named due to security reasons, but it was reported that the aircraft carrier would be deployed in the Persian Gulf.

French media said that the Charles de Gaulle is expected to be on a mission at least four months and that the mission may be prolonged.
On Sunday evening, the Europe1 radio station reported that the French aircraft carrier had already established communication with the Russian warships based in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Touted as the world’s largest aircraft carrier, the 42,500-ton Charles de Gaulle can carry at least eighteen Rafale fighter jets, eight Dassault-Breguet Super Etendard carrier-born strike fighter, one Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeyes aircraft and a bunch of helicopters. The crew is composed of 1,900 sailors, pilots and mechanics.

Earlier this week, Paris said it expected anti-terror assistance from the rest of the European Union. In turn, Belgium and the United Kingdom pledged ships to sail with the task force, while Ireland offered to boost its troop numbers in a UN-led peacekeeping mission in Mali to allow France to redeploy soldiers elsewhere, if needed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, ordered the country’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to work out a Russia-France joint action plan on Syria. Putin also said that the Russian military should cooperate with the Charles de Gaulle crew members who should be perceived as allies.
On November 13, terrorists attacked several venues around Paris, killing 130 people and leaving over 350 more injured. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

In the wake of the violence, French President Francois Hollande pledged to do his upmost to counter the threat of terrorism, particularly by ISIL.Hollande’s anti-terrorism measures have been agreed with the UN Security Council.
France is part of a coalition of 65 countries that are bombing Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq, acting without the permission of local authorities.
By Sputnik News