France's defence minister has said that "several hundred" Islamist militants have been killed since an offensive was launched in Mali last month, the BBC reports.
Jean-Yves Le Drian said they had been killed in airstrikes and direct combat with French troops.
On Tuesday, France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said French troops will begin pulling out of Mali in March.
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.