French troops have taken control of the airport in the northern Malian town of Kidal, the last rebel stronghold in the north, the French army and a local official told Reuters.
Haminy Belco Maiga, president of the regional assembly of Kidal, said troops arrived last night:
They arrived late last night and they deployed in four planes and some helicopters.
Maiga said there were no immediate reports of resistance.
Throughout ten months of Islamist rule, the people of Timbuktu risked their lives to preserve the artefacts of their ancient heritage.
Francois Hollande is due to visit Timbuktu during his visit to the West African country this weekend. He will be welcomed by many.
Downing Street have been explaining what offers the UK have made to the military effort in Mali.