On July 1, a Dassault Rafale patrol from the advanced air base in the Levant, and assigned to monitor an area in northern Iraq, was tasked to strike against a position occupied by Daesh. After this strike, the Rafale patrol continued its protection mission, remaining ready to intervene in the event of further requests from the troops engaged on the ground. This mission lasted six hours and required several in-flight refuelings. Contacted by Coalition troops who had spotted terrorists at the entrance to some caves and after obtaining double approval from both Coalition and Iraqi authorities, the Rafales dropped several bombs, destroying three cave entrances and neutralizing several terrorists.
A few days later, on July 7, two Dassault Rafale , also from the base in the Levant, again supported ground troops using their armaments. During this sortie, which lasted several hours, the aircraft were refueled by a German A400M, the two crews again fired several GPS-guided “AASM” precision bombs to destroy shelters and positions defensive of Daesh. Launched on September 19, 2014, Operation Chammal is the French component of the international operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), which brings together 80 countries and organizations. In coordination with the Iraqi government and France’s allies in the area, Operation Chammal provides military support to local forces engaged in the fight against ISIS on their territory.
The International Coalition is constantly adapting its system to the Levant and France is continuing its effort in the region because the fight against terrorism continues. Operation Chammal is now focusing on its “support” pillar and has 600 soldiers inserted into the OIR headquarters or in air and maritime deployments. From the end of September 2015, France began airstrikes on ISIL in Syria as well, on a small scale to avoid inadvertently strengthening the hand of president Bashar Assad by hitting his enemies. On 17 January 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron states that ISIL is not yet defeated and reaffirms his commitment to keep French soldiers in Syria throughout 2019 despite US withdrawal.