On December 9, France Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the French BFM TV that he is surprised that Russia had arrogated the victory over ISIS to itself. He also claimed that ISIS was driven out of Syria and Iraq only thanks to the efforts of the US-led coalition.
“I find it amazing that Russia sets victory over ISIS,” said Le Drian.
The French minister went on and called the Russian statement about the victory over ISIS an “unreasonable” interpretation. Le Drain even said that Russia only intervened in Syria to assist the Damascus government and only broke the siege of Deir Ezzor.
“With a certain delay, the Russian military came to the aid of Assad’s forces and ultimately secured the liberation of the Deir Ezzor,” Le Drian said.
On September 19, 2014, France joined the US-led coalition. Since then the French Air Force has conducted very limited aerial operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. In these operations, the French Air Force mainly used 6 Mirage 2000D fighter jets deployed in Jordan in 2014 and Dassault Rafale fighter jets from the nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in very few cases.
On the other side, Russia started its operations against ISIS on September 30, 2015. The Russian Aerospace Forces conducted ten of thousands of airstrikes against ISIS in Syria using over 50 warplanes and attack helicopters deployed in Hmeimim airbase in Lattakia. The Russian military also fired dozens of cruise missiles against the terrorist group from its warships, submarines and strategic bombers.
Due to these basic facts, it’s safe to say that Le Drian’s statement is the real “surprise” as it’s clearly aimed at manipulating the facts about the war on ISIS. While the US-led coalition supported the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) operations in al-Hasakah, Raqqa and some parts of Deir Ezzor governorate, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) backed by Russia and Iran liberated Aleppo, Homs, Deir Ezzor and Damascus.
And while the US-led coalition view allowing ISIS fighters to withdraw from the city of Raqqa as its the biggest achievements in the“war on ISIS”, it was the Russian-Iranian-Syrian alliance that liberated a number of ISIS strongholds, including the cities of al-Bukamal and Mayadin, in Deir Ezzor.
The fact that the US and its allies like France are still not capable of admitting Russia’s role in the war one ISIS is not only “unreasonable”, but also shows that the West is still not ready to work with Russia to bring peace to Syria.