French reconnaissance flights have indicated that air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will be necessary, President François Hollande said on Monday.
“We are part of the coalition in Iraq [against the Islamic State group],” Hollande said at a news conference with his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari, in Paris.
“We started reconnaissance flights to enable us to consider air strikes, if they were necessary, and they will be necessary in Syria,” Hollande said.
The French president said last week that Paris was considering air strikes in Syria, given the expansion of the Islamic State group's control over Syrian territory over the past year and the threat the militants pose to French interests at home and abroad.
But he ruled out sending ground forces to Syria, calling such a move “ineffective and unrealistic”.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced last week that France had carried out its first surveillance flights over Syrian territory to prepare for possible strikes on Islamic State group jihadists.
"These surveillance flights will determine what action can be taken when the time comes," Fabius told reporters on September 8.
The reconnaissance flights were carried out by two of France’s Rafale fighter jets equipped with photo and video cameras, a French military source told the AFP news agency.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)
Date created : 2015-09-14