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SYRIA

French air strike hits Isis oil facility in Syria

France is continuing to bomb Isis targets in Syria with the government announcing on Monday that its air planes had hit an Isis oil facility.

French air strike hits Isis oil facility in Syria
Photo: AFP

The French military on Sunday bombed an oil supply centre held by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria, Defence Minister
Jean-Yves Le Drian announced Monday.

“We intervened in Syria… yesterday evening with a strike on an oil supply centre near Deir Ezzor on the border between Iraq and Syria,” Le Drian told journalists on the sidelines of a forum on African peace and security in Dakar, Senegal.

It was France's third wave of strikes in Syria since President Francois Hollande decided in September to join the campaign there against IS.

The two previous waves targeted training camps for foreign jihadists who were suspected of preparing attacks in France.

Hollande on Thursday said operations would be expanded to include “all those sites from which terrorists could threaten our territory”.

The president also said France would deploy its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier — the flagship of the French navy — to boost operations against IS in Syria and Iraq.

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SYRIA

French group to open two hotels in Damascus

France's Louvre Hotels Group has signed an agreement to open two hotels under its own name in Damascus, the first with a western hotel operator since Syria's brutal civil war began in 2011.

French group to open two hotels in Damascus
Louvre owns the Golden Tulip five-star brand. Photo: Louvre Hotels Group
The confirmation of the two hotels opening, after recent media reports, came a day after the UN announced an internal investigation into the bombing of hospitals in Syria, and as at least six civilians were killed by the Syrian regime and Russian fire in northwestern Idlib province in the past days, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The region of around three million people, many of them displaced by fighting in other areas, is one of the last holdouts of opposition fighting against the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
   
The Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance led by Al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate controls most of Idlib as well as parts of neighbouring Aleppo and Latakia provinces.
   
The hotels “will open soon under the brand name of Louvres Hotels Group,” the company, which is owned by China's Jin
Jiang, said in a statement.
 
Louvre Hotels Group said the deal was signed between Syria's Nazha Investment Group and “a partner with whom Louvre Hotels cooperates in the Middle East”.
   
The exact number of people killed in Syria's war is unknown but hundreds of thousands have died.
   
Several dozen medical facilities with links to the UN have been damaged or destroyed by bombs this year. Russian has denied deliberately targeting civilian installations.
   
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday said an internal inquiry would look into the bombing of hospitals in Syria which had previously flagged their coordinates to avoid air strikes.
   
“The deal is strictly in line with international law and all international directives regarding Syria,” the French company statement said.
   
According to the website, The Syria Report, it is the first agreement with a western hotel operator since 2011, when the devastating conflict began. Louvre Hotels Group was taken over by China's Jin Jiang in 2015 and it operates more than 1,500 hotels in 54 countries.
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