United Nations (United States) (AFP) – France carried out its first air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria on Sunday, launching a military operation as Russia and Western powers sought the upper hand in shaping the future of the war-torn country. President Francois Hollande said six French warplanes hit an IS training camp near the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, and that more air strikes could follow in the coming weeks.

The action came on the eve of the UN General Assembly in New York where Syria is in the spotlight after four years of a brutal war that has killed more than 240,000 people and sent hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing to Europe. After sending troops and fighter planes to Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to push for stepped-up military action against IS jihadists in a joint effort with regional players.”We have proposed to cooperate with the countries in the region. We are trying to establish some kind of coordinated framework,” Putin said in an interview with CBS television. FULL REPORT