Pray for Syria: Killing of innocent civilians condemned

French President Francois Hollande said France would be "merciless toward the barbarians of Islamic State group” following the Paris terror attacks

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to social media to condemn air strikes on Syria which are killing innocent civilians including children.

It comes after the world’s media turned its attention to Paris following a series of terror attacks in the city which killed 129 people on Friday.

France launched a fresh wave of air strikes on Isis targets in Syria in retaliation after the militant group claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks in a statement.

French President Francois Hollande called the attacks “an act of war that was prepared, organised, planned from abroad with internal help”.

On Sunday night, French officials said that 12 planes including 10 fighter jets had dropped 20 bombs at targets in Raqqa, the defacto ‘capital’ of Isis. Two training camps and a suspected arms depot were reportedly hit.

But an expert has warned that “kneejerk reactions” on behalf of France could be “harmful” in the long term.

Charlie Winter, a security analyst, told Sky News on Sunday it was “critical that the French government, as well as everyone else, doesn’t react in exactly a way Islamic State wants us to react – kneejerk reactions that in long term could be harmful but to react with unity, defiance in the face of Islamic State trying to cleave us apart”.

Meanwhile, more than 360,000 people have been drawing attention to the effects that indiscriminate attacks such as air strikes have on civilians in Syria. They have been posting harrowing images of children injured as a result as well as the hashtag PrayForSyria.

“The attacks in Paris were despicable acts which showed callous disregard for human life,” said David Mepham, UK director at Human Rights Watch.

“Between the Paris attacks, bombs in Beirut, Baghdad and Ankara, and the downing of a Russian airliner over Sinai, we are seeing an intensification of atrocities against people around the world. These acts provoke shock and outrage. But we should not forget the enormous suffering in Syria, where civilians find themselves caught between Assad’s barrel bombs and attacks from the Islamic State, leaving tens of thousands dead and forcing millions from their homes. Syrians need protection now more than ever.”

President Hollande said France would be "merciless toward the barbarians of Islamic State group”.

"Faced with war, the country must take appropriate action," he said.

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said France had “legitimacy” to take action against Isis following the attacks.

Additional reporting by agencies