France is reportedly planning to launch airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) in Syria, extending the country’s involvement in the coalition fight against the IS threat.
According to French President François Hollande, the country will now start reconnaissance flights over Syria with plans to extend the mission to begin airstrikes later.
Currently, France is conducting airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in support of the combined joint task force-operation, Inherent Resolve. However, the country is carrying out limited operations in Iraq.
Hollande was quoted by the Guardian as saying: "Faced with terrorism, France has always faced its responsibility, some say we have to intervene on the ground in Syria.
"I consider it to be useless and unrealistic to send French troops there.
"So no, France won’t be sending ground troops to Syria, but we will be ready to conduct airstrikes depending on intelligence from reconnaissance missions.
"Reconnaissance flights will take place and afterwards we will make decisions.
"Assad is responsible for the situation in Syria. The solution is political, but a solution cannot be found that leaves Assad in place."
The latest development follows Turkey’s decision to join the coalition to fight against IS in Syria.
Turkey had earlier shown reluctance to take part in the fight against ISIL. It finally agreed to join the coalition after suspected ISIL members bombed one of its border towns in July.
Meanwhile, the UK military forces have reportedly launched an armed drone strike for the first time and killed three suspected members of the Islamic State in Syria, including two British citizens.
The UK is not currently participating in military operations in Syria, while it is active in the US-led campaign to combat ISIL in Iraq.