France has announced it will soon begin air strikes to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces in Iraq.
French President Francois Hollande said surveillance aircraft would begin identifying targets on Monday.
He said air support would protect Iraqi soldiers and Kurdish Peshmerga forces on the ground and would reduce and weaken Islamic State (ISIL)militants.
“Our goal is to contribute to peace and security in Iraq, weakening the terrorists,” said Hollande. “I clearly affirm the necessity of this air support. We will not go further, there will be no troops on the ground and we will intervene only in Iraq.”
Hollande, the most unpopular French president in over a century with an approval rating of just 13 percent, was asked by a reporter about his plummeting popularity.
“It is not written anywhere in the Constitution that a survey would decide if the power could be exercised or not,” pointed out the president.
“If this were the case we would not be in a democracy but under public opinion, which, hopefully, is not included in the Constitution,” he added.
Speaking as Scots voted in a landmark referendum, Hollande voiced concern at the danger of the EU and individual member states unravelling.