When French president, Francois Hollande, declared that France would “lead a war which will be pitiless,” at the Bataclan theatre; where one of multiple terrorist attacks killed scores in Paris, it resounded with a stern resolve and decisiveness.
Since then, French forces have bombarded ISIS’ de facto capital of Al Raqqa with bomber fighter jets. However, reports from ground sources suggest that the bombing was not only successful in destroying ISIS camps, bastions and weapons infirmary; but also the death of civilians and their homes. The number of ISIS casualties was significantly low in correlation to the extensive bombardment that occurred.
“The limited number of deaths can be explained by the fact that the jihadists had taken precautions,” said Abdel Rahman, from the Syrian observatory for Human Rights. Based in Britain, but with an extensive network base in Syria, the observatory claimed “there were only guards around the depots and barracks and most of those killed were at the checkpoints”. This suggest that militants had planned in advance for the attacks and relocated forces to safer havens.
This is however worryingly for civilians in Raqqa and the surrounding provinces. Human rights watchdogs are monitoring the situation, as there has been a possible increase in aerial bombardment, due to Russia’s timely participation in the war,further adding to the collateral damage toll.
Russian Strategic bombing ploy
After concluding investigations proved that the Russian Sinai plane crash was caused by ‘external’ agents; Russian Federation premier, Vladimir Putin, sanctioned a military response towards ISIS – who had prior assumed responsibility for the crash.
Russia’s main mode of action was aimed at the “disruption of control and supply systems, as well as the destruction of the ISIS military oil & gas production facilities”, said the Russian Minister of Defense in a report on the outcome of the air strikes.
With concentrated fire on Raqqa, Idib and Aleppo, the report highlighted that Russia’s mission was to “undermine finance and economic basis of ISIS” in an attempt to cripple their operational routine. Images of attacks from Russian aerospace technology showed the bombings of refueling trucks and oil facilities used to provide oil to vehicles and generate income by ISIS respectively.
Both the French and Russian forces have claimed successful target hits with the latter boasting of the annihilation of 600 ISIS militants, with one cruise missile at a facility near Deir ezZor, according to the Russian Defence Ministry. The strikes on large terrorist cells and bastions have produced reports of civilian casualties, yet to be denied by either the French or Russian authorities.
The attacks are strategically logical in their approach, but the effects on civilian lives and property will be hard to concisely evaluate so early considering the expected upsurge in attack waves after the official Franco-Russian cooperation started on Friday.
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