France’s International Action Against Terrorism


International terrorism is one of the biggest threats to international peace and security. Since this threat has never been so strong, France is taking action at every level with its international partners to combat terrorist networks in France and abroad.

The goals are many:

  • Reduce terrorist groups’ regional hold;
  • Combat financial, human, logistic and terrorist propaganda networks;
  • Prevent radicalization;
  • Protect French interests and nationals abroad.

To achieve these goals, France’s international action against terrorism includes:

  • Taking determined military action;
  • Stabilizing liberated areas and seeking political solutions to conflicts;
  • Scaling up action by the European Union;
  • Enhancing international cooperation to fight terrorist financing in particular.

Taking determined military action

In recent years, several terrorist groups have sought to broaden their regional hold in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Africa. Terrorist safe havens are a threat to the international community. They are hotbeds of terror and oppression for local populations and centres for disseminating murderous ideology. It is from these havens that many terrorist attacks targeting local populations and foreign countries have been planned and organized.

France is combating terrorism on all fronts

The Sahel

Present in the Sahel since 2013 (Operation Serval in Mali), France has played a leading role in blocking the advancement of terrorist groups in the region. French troops participating in Operation Barkhane provide vital assistance to the G5 Sahel countries (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad) in their action to fight terrorism.

To find out more about France in the Sahel

Syria and Iraq

France has joined forces with the Global Coalition against Daesh by launching Operation Chammal to support Iraqi authorities engaged in fighting the terrorist group. In September 2015, faced with the terrorist threat in France, the scope of action of Operation Chammal was extended to include Syria to destroy Daesh’s regional hold in the country.

Since 2014, France’s military action has helped to liberate virtually all of the regions controlled by the terrorist organization in Iraq and in Syria. .

Illust: Operation Chammal, 54.4 kb, 960x480
Operation Chammal

Stabilizing liberated areas and seeking political solutions to conflicts

In addition to military action, French diplomacy actively seeks, with its partners, political solutions, which are the only way to end conflicts and prevent the emergence and strengthening of terrorist actors.

In Iraq, stabilization and reconstruction are key objectives for France. National reconciliation, reconstruction and stabilization are steps that need to be taken to definitively end terrorism, in addition to destroying Daesh’s military capabilities. France will continue to support efforts conducted in this direction by Iraqi authorities.

In Syria, France supports and finances many projects helping to stabilize the regions taken back from the terrorist group Daesh and actively works at the diplomatic level to find a credible political solution to the Syrian crisis. It is the only way to address root causes that have led to the emergence of terrorism in this country

To find out more about the post-Daesh situation

In the Sahel, France’s strategy is based on a comprehensive approach (addressing political, security and development issues). Created in February 2014, at the instigation of the government leaders in the region, the G5 Sahel is an institutional framework for monitoring regional cooperation with the aim of coordinating the security and development policies of its members. Launched in July 2017, the Sahel Alliance reinforces the action of the G5 Sahel with a focus on the following five areas: the employability of young people, education and training; agriculture, rural development and food security; energy and climate; governance; and decentralization and support for the deployment of basic services.

Scaling up action by the European Union

France is also taking action at European level to improve and strengthen the tools available to the European Union for combating terrorism. In the past several years, France and its partners have made several notable advances:

  • The creation of a European Passenger Name Record system that will help better monitor air travel;
  • The strengthening of cooperation with the digital platforms to combat the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes within the framework of the EU Internet Forum;
  • The mobilization of European tools of asset freezing and seizure tools;
  • The bolstering of arms trafficking measures;
  • The establishment of new rules to prevent terrorist financing and money-laundering;
  • The reinforcement of Europol, and especially its European Counter Terrorism Centre.

Enhancing international cooperation

Because terrorist groups represent a global threat, France is taking action with its partners to enhance international cooperation when it comes to fighting terrorism in many areas, including:

  • Preventing radicalization and curbing terrorist propaganda

France conducts high-level dialogue with its main partners in the area of preventing radicalization and participates in multilateral discussions on this issue.

Efforts to stop the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes remain a key focus of our counterterrorism action. France is conducting high-level dialogue with digital companies to achieve rapid and lasting withdrawal (in one hour maximum) of terrorist content online.

  • Working to combat foreign terrorist fighters (FTF)

France is involved in different work aiming to contain the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, in the appropriate international bodies, notably the United Nations, and within the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), which brings together 29 countries and the European Union.

  • Working to tackle terrorist financing

With its partners, France is working to identify and to drain all the terrorist financing sources. At the instigation of President Macron, an international conference “No Money for Terror” was held on 25 and 26 April in Paris on combating the financing of Al-Qaeda and Daesh. Representatives from 70 countries and leaders of some 20 international and regional organizations and specialized agencies attended. In their final statement, Member States committed to reinforce their legal frameworks and their intelligence cooperation. Several clear priorities and tangible measures were defined. France, through its diplomatic network, is mobilizing its partners to see them implemented. A follow-up conference will be held in the first half of 2019 in Australia.

Illust: International confer, 40.6 kb, 960x480
International conference regarding the fight against the financing of Daesh and al-Qaeda "No money for terror": closing speech by French president Emmanuel Macron
© F. de La Mure / MEAE
  • Building our partners’ capacity to combat terrorism

France is implementing training programmes for its partners, law enforcement investigators, magistrates and service working on counterterrorism.

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