Feb. 6, 2019 —
At the end of 2018, the Syrian democratic forces progressed to Hajin. Fighters from ISIS were within a few hundred meters. Syrian forces were under fire, the coalition asked for an air support.
Coordinated with the combined air operation center based in Al-Udeid, Qatar, crews got the fire authorization. A few minutes later, a Rafale launched a guided GPS bomb to destroy the ISIS command post.
Five hours and two flight-refueling stations were needed for the two Rafale to accomplish the one thousand five hundredth strike. Thanks to this air support, the Syrian forces progressed to Hajin.
Close air support is the main mission of the Rafale based on the French forward air base in the Middle East. Daily, they take off to help ground forces engaged against ISIS.
This 1500th strike is symbolic: it shows the engagement of the French Air Force for more than four years. It is the fruit of the permanent action of the French forward air base in the Middle East and the air base in UAE with Mirage 2000 and Rafale since the autumn 2014.
Deployment of KC-135 refueling aircraft and French AWACS were also determinant to free a territory from the control of ISIS.
“We continue the fight” said French army minister, Florence Parly, during her speech on December 31st, 2018. "You engaged an intense, hard, and challenging activity to take back Hajin. You were an essential help for the Syrian forces. Now we have to defeat ISIS definitively."
This is a translated copy and the original French can be found: