Hollande makes flying visit to French aircraft carrier hitting Syria

French President Francois Hollande has made a flying visit to the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, on station in the eastern Mediterranean.

It is the main base for French jets now pounding ISIL positions in Syria, and along with the defence minister he sought to boost morale and get the latest updates on the progression of the French campaign.

The ship’s precise location is being kept secret and it changes its sailing pattern regularly, although any attack against the French flagship is thought to be beyond ISIL’s capabilities.

Friday was unusual in that there were more NATO and western airstrikes against ISIL in Syria than Iraq, and the Russians were very active too, although they continued to hit any group fighting the Syrian government and not just ISIL targets.

Oil facilities continue to be the target of choice as the international alliance seeks to cut off supplies of cash that the Islamic militants get by illegally selling fuel, which they then spend on weapons. Immobile and easy to hit, their destruction is weakening ISIL.