Syrians in Raqqa tell of ‘insane nights’ of air strikes

Diana Al Rifai — Al Jazeera Nov 17, 2015

French Rafale jet flanked by 3 Mirage 2000-N. Click to enlarge

French Rafale jet flanked by 3 Mirage 2000-N. Click to enlarge

French defence officials say that, for the second time in less than 24 hours, fighter jets have targeted Raqqa, the de-facto capital of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in northern Syria.

Ten Rafale and Mirage 2000 fighters carried out the raid early in the morning, dropping 16 bombs, the defence ministry said on Tuesday, as France hits back at ISIL in retaliation for Friday’s Paris attacks that killed at least 129 people and wounded hundreds more.

“Both targets were hit and destroyed simultaneously,” the ministry said.

“Conducted in coordination with US forces, the raid was aimed at sites identified during reconnaissance missions previously carried out by France.”

On Sunday, the French defence ministry said 30 air strikes destroyed an ISIL training camp and munitions dump in Raqqa.

However, a media activist in Raqqa, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that French air strikes had targeted abandoned ISIL bases in the suburbs of the city where there are no civilians or ISIL fighters. 

“It has been two insane nights. Abandoned ISIL posts were targeted at the entrance of the city, along with ISIL checkpoints and several other points. Electricity and water have been cut off as supply lines were hit too.

“We can confirm that there were no civilians killed or injured in the latest French air strikes.

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