French jets target Islamic State camps, depot – Syria monitor

A French fighter jet taxis along the runway in an undisclosed location, in this handout picture released by the ECPAD late November 15, 2015. REUTERS/ECPAD-French Defence Ministry/Handout via Reuters

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Heavy air strikes believed to have been carried out by French jets hit two Islamic State training camps and a suspected arms depot in and around the jihadist-held city of Raqqa in Syria overnight, a group monitoring the war said on Monday.

There were more than 30 explosions heard in the Raqqa city area, said Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict using a network of sources on the ground.

It was not immediately clear if all the blasts were caused by air strikes or other weaponry. Islamic State, which uses Raqqa as the defacto capital of its self-declared caliphate, is restricting movement inside the city, making it difficult to collect information on any casualties, Abdulrahman said.

France’s Defence Ministry said on Sunday 10 French fighter jets dropped 20 bombs on Syria targeting Islamic State, the ultra hardline group which has claimed responsibility for attacks in Paris that killed more than 130 people.

An anti-Islamic State activist group, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, said the French strikes hit “Division 17” and “Avant-garde camp” in Raqqa and provided maps of their locations on its Twitter feed. It said there were no reports of casualties so far.

The group said one strike hit an area where Kayla Mueller, a U.S. hostage, had been held in Raqqa before being killed earlier this year.

It posted a video with audio of the rumble of jets overhead which it said was from inside Raqqa city.

Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Janet Lawrence

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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