France Launches Air Strike in Syria

November 11, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. resist / rɪˈzɪst / (v.) – to oppose something
Example:  The country has been resisting the president’s plan to go to war.

2. apprehensive / ˌæp rɪˈhɛn sɪv / (adj.) – hesitant of what might happen
Example:  The general has been apprehensive about sending his troops to the war zone.

3. investigate / ɪnˈvɛs tɪˌgeɪt / (v.) – to thoroughly look into the details of something
Example:  The government will investigate the details of the terrorist group.

4. clarify / ˈklær əˌfaɪ / (v.) – to make a statement or an idea more understandable
Example:  The president clarified the government’s reason for joining the air strike.

5. militant / ˈmɪl ɪ tənt / (adj.) – describing a person or group participating in a war
Example:  The police arrested members of a militant group last night.


Read the text below.
France has joined the fight against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

In September, France launched an air strike in Syria despite previously resisting the campaign. The French government was previously apprehensive about joining the attack because they were afraid that this might appear as if they are helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [bah-SHAHR ahl AH-sahd]. Under his leadership, the Syrian government has been charged with alleged crimes against humanity during the Syrian civil war.

The change in the French government’s decision is due to its growing fear that IS is recruiting French fighters, then sending them back home to cause trouble. Several reports of crimes committed in the country this year have suspects who previously traveled to Syria. According to France’s defense minister, the country has been preparing for the air strike by investigating Islamic State targets. He further clarified that the air strikes are not meant to help Assad, but rather to fight IS.

The strike targeted an Islamic State training camp in Syria. French president Francois Hollande [frahn-SWAH oh-LAHN-deh] explained that the move was done to protect both his country and the Syrian civilians from the militant group. Prior to the air strikes by France, the US already conducted several air strikes this year in Syria and Iraq. However, Hollande stressed that their focus for now is Syria and that France will make its own decisions independently, but will continue coordinating with the US.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with France’s decision to launch the air strike? Why or why not?
·         In your opinion, is the air strike the best way to keep France safe? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, what is the best way to resolve conflict between nations?
·         What do you think are some possible consequences of the war in the Middle East?

November 11, 2015