France moves closer to air strikes in Syria

France moves closer to air strikes in Syria
Will French Rafale planes soon be launching air strikes over Syria? Photo: AFP
The French president appeared to take another step towards ordering air strikes in Syria when he said on Monday that the intervention would be "necessary" to target Isis fighters, who are preparing attacks on France.

French President Francois Hollande, whose country is carrying out surveillance flights over Syria, said on Monday it would be “necessary” to carry out air strikes against Islamic State militants there.

“We announced surveillance flights that would allow us to prepare air strikes if they were necessary, and they will be necessary in Syria,” he told journalists after talks with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

France has been part of a US-led coalition bombing IS positions in Iraq for the past year, but Hollande changed strategy last week to expand action to Syria as political pressure mounts over the jihadist threat faced by France.

Hollande said last week he had ordered surveillance flights because he wanted to find out “what is being prepared against us and what is being done against the Syrian population”.

Hollande's move to carry out air strikes in Syria also comes as Europe is buckling under the pressure of a flood of refugees from the war-torn country.

France has so far confirmed it has carried out two surveillance flights over Syrian territory.

The United States, Canada, Turkey and Gulf states have already been involved in strikes on IS militants in Syria.

Australia also announced last week it would join the Syrian operation.

Britain killed two jihadists in a drone attack in Syria last week.

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