France to prepare air strikes against IS in Syria

PARIS – French President Francois Hollande said that France will launch surveillance flights over Syria from Tuesday with a view to conducting airstrikes on Islamic State positions.

During a press conference in Paris, French president said, “I have asked the defence ministry that from tomorrow surveillance flights can be launched over Syria, allowing us to plan airstrikes against Daesh (the Islamic State group).”

“What we want is to know what is being prepared against us and what is being done against the Syrian population,” he said. He also confirmed that France would not send ground troops into the country, saying it would be “inconsequential and unrealistic.” He said that it was unrealistic “because we would be the only ones” and also risked being “transformed into an occupation force”.

“So we won’t do it,” he said. “It’s for regional forces to take their responsibilities. However, France will work to find political solutions.” He said that finding a political transition that sidelined Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was “essential”. “The transition is an essential point. Nothing must be done that can consolidate or maintain Bashar al-Assad,” he said.

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