France is to launch air strikes in Syria, according to the French Prime Minister, who said that getting rid of Bashar al-Assad and tackling the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) was the only way to halt the flow of refugees to Europe.
Photo: Christophe Ena/ AP
“At the moment there are millions of Syrians who are displaced. There are refugee camps — in Lebanon, in Jordan, in Turkey — receiving 4 to 5 million Syrians. And we’re not going to receive 4 to 5 million Syrians, so the problem has to be dealt with at source,” he said through an interpreter.
“These are very difficult subjects. And of course, in Syria, so long as we haven’t found a political solution; so long as we haven’t destroyed this terrorist group, Islamic State; so long as we haven’t got rid of Bashar Assad; we will not find a solution.”
He said he would address the French parliament on Tuesday to announce “the objectives of France and that there will be strikes.”
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Earlier this week, Francois Hollande, the French president, said he had ordered reconnaisance flights to begin over Syria and that he was considering air strikes.
Until now, however, it has ruled out extending its air campaign to Syria for fear it would help the Assad regime.
“My responsibility is to ensure that we are informed as much as possible on the threats to our country,” said Mr Hollande on Monday during his bi-annual news conference.
“So I have asked the defence minister that from tomorrow reconnaissance flights begin over Syria that will enable us to consider air strikes against Islamic State.”