The French nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier (photo) left the port of registration on November 19 to join the operation in Syria, French President Francois Hollande told the French Parliament’s emergency meeting in Versailles on Monday.
“This is going to triple our military power as part of the operation against the Islamic State (ISIL). I am not talking about deterring ISIL but about eliminating it totally,” the French President said adding that France intended to step up its operation against the Islamist forces in Syria.
Furthermore, the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman, a Nimitz Class aircraft carrier, departed from Norfolk Monday and is now steaming towards the Middle East to support combat operations against the Islamic State, according to a Navy Times report,
The Truman, along with accompanying ships and submarines- known as a Carrier Strike Group - will arrive in the coming weeks for a seven-month deployment. The deployment was scheduled prior to the Paris terrorist attacks that killed more than 120 people. According to the Navy Times report, there has been no changes in the strike group’s deployment plans.
Meanwhile, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said on Wednesday his country will send a Royal Navy warship, the HMS Defender, to back France in its anti-ISIL efforts in Syria.
The ship is tasked with providing air defense cover for the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.
“This barbaric terrorist organization must be destroyed and it is right that we offer all the support we can to confront them. We will consider any further requests for support from France under Article 42.7 of the EU Treaty following Friday's Paris terror attacks,” Fallon affirmed.
Belgium also plans to deploy a warship to the Mediterranean to support Charles de Gaulle. A Belgian frigate, the Leopold I, will provide combat cover for the French aircraft carrier, Defense Minister Steven Vandeput said.
The move will provide a boost to multinational efforts, led by Russia and the US, aimed at tackling ISIL, the brutal group responsible for countless atrocities in the Middle East and beyond. Its latest assaults include the crash of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt, multiple deadly attacks in Paris on November 13 and bombings in Beirut two days earlier.