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France hints at taking stronger military action in Syria as US-led air strikes begin


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France hints at taking stronger military action in Syria as US-led air strikes begin

Despite repeatedly ruling out taking part in air strikes on ISIL targets over Syria, France has now hinted at a potential change of plans.

Hours after French tourist Hervé Gourdel was beheaded by an Algerian Islamist group, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the government would “see how the situation evolves”. When asked if air strikes were a possibility in the future, the minister responded: “The question is on the table.”

France has carried out raids on Iraq, but its efforts in Syria – a strong ISIL power base – have focussed on providing weapons and training to Syrian rebels on the ground.

The US and other coalition powers have pounded strategic positions in the country, including oil refineries in the east, which which reportedly generate over a million euros per day for the militant group.

According to US officials, Washington and its Arab allies killed scores of militants in the first 24 hours of air strikes on Syria.

Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the strikes also killed five civilians.

On Thursday (September 25) Kurdish officials claimed their forces had pushed back an ISIL advance near Ayn al-Arab, on the Syria-Turkey border, after the jihadists launched a fresh offensive to capture the northern region.

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