Hollande says France should extend air strikes into Syria

President Francois Hollande states French air strikes targeting ISIS militant group should be extended to also take part not only in Iraq but also in Syrian territories

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

French President Francois Hollande (R) welcomes Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, September 14, 2015.

Updated Sep 15, 2015

French President Francois Hollande said on Monday that French air strikes aimed at ISIS within Iraq need to be extended to also cover Syrian grounds taken over by the militant group.

"We are part of the coalition in Iraq [against ISIS]," Hollande said during a news conference with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

"We started reconnaissance flights [in Syria] to enable us to consider air strikes if they were necessary and they will be necessary in Syria."

France has so far only taken part in air strikes against ISIS in Iraq because the country feared that such action against the militant group in Syria could strengthen Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

Paris has also been involved in the battle against Al Qaeda affiliated Boko Haram militants holding territories in West Africa and has been providing intelligence and logistical support to Nigeria and other neighbouring states battling the militant groups.

"Boko Haram is linked to Daesh. It receives aid and support from this group. The fight against Boko Haram is the fight against Daesh," Hollande said, referring to the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

"It is no longer possible to distinguish terrorism from regions. It's the same terrorism inspired by the same death ideology," he added.

Due to the rapid expansion of ISIS control over regions in Syria, Hollande announced last week that Paris will be starting flights over Syria, adding that the militant group could have a threat on French interests and abroad.

In 2013, Paris was willing to join air strikes on Assad's forces in Syria, before US President Barack Obama called off the campaign.

TRTWorld and agencies