France eyes strikes against ISIS in Syria – report

A French Mirage 2000 fighter © Kaisa Siren / Lehtikuva
France is considering carrying out strikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria, French newspaper Le Monde reported on Saturday citing an anonymous “high-level source.”

President Francois Hollande will give a news conference on Monday to clarify the matter, but government officials are refusing to comment on the report yet.

The issue was allegedly discussed at a defense meeting with the president on Friday, and over the last few days unnamed top officials hinted to the French paper that the decision had been made.

In the coming months, an “informed source” said, reconnaissance missions could be conducted in Syria by the Dassault Mirage 2000 jet fighters based in Jordan.

Currently, France provides advice and arms to what it describes as "moderate" rebels in Syria.

READ MORE: Ousting Assad militarily would enable ISIS to seize Syria – Lavrov

Previously, French leaders ruled out the possibility of participating in the US-led coalition, despite having been the first state to join the US in their attacks on IS in Iraq.

Le Monde added that the change of policy could be caused by Europe’s refugee crisis, and the inability of pushing back Islamic State.

READ MORE: A year of terror: ISIS kills over 3,000 in Syria since declaring ‘caliphate’ – report

Some 3,000 people were killed in Syria by IS, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’ report in June.