Defense Secretary Ash Carter has flown to Paris to attend a defense ministerial involving representatives from seven coalition countries who have been at the forefront of fighting against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq. These include Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
During his visit, Secretary Carter also placed a wreath at the Place de La Republique in memory of the victims of the Paris terror attacks last November. During a press conference in Le Drian in Paris, the secretary said, “I know I speak for every man and woman in the U.S. armed forces when I say that we will always stand by the people of France, our oldest ally.”
The French response to ISIS attacks in their very own capital was swift. Secretary Carter said that he was on the phone with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian just hours after the terror attacks in Paris as they coordinated a “crushing response” against ISIS in Raqqa. Air strikes have since hit various ISIS assets, including armories, headquarter buildings, training facilities and cash reserves.
Following the ministerial meeting, the ministers released a joint statement, confirming their countries’ “broad support for the campaign plan objectives and the need to continue gathering momentum in our campaign as it moves into its next phase targeting [ISIL’s] vulnerabilities.” Recently, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials have reported that it had just completed 14 air strikes against ISIS in Iraq, using both fighters and remotely piloted aircraft.
The recent strikes hit an ISIS rocket-propelled grenade system along with ISIS buildings, tactical units, fighting positions as well as several command and control nodes. In addition, the attack also hit some ISIS petroleum oil and lubricant trucks as well as some heavy machine guns. And as air strikes go on, the Pentagon also says that Iraqi military forces on the ground also continue to clear the city of Ramadi, which has already been retaken from ISIS. The job includes removing thousands of explosives left behind by fighters of the Islamic State.
Meanwhile, Secretary Carter says he will deliver the results of the ministerial meeting to President Obama when he returns to the U.S.