Confusion over possible French action against ISIL in Syria

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Confusion over possible French action against ISIL in Syria

Confusion over possible French action against ISIL in Syria
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There is some ambiguity over France’s potential involvement in the US-led campaign against ISIL in Syria, following a meeting between the American and French defence ministers in Washington.

French airstrikes in the country would be seen as a significant escalation of France’s engagement in the conflict.

The US Defence Secretary said the matter was raised at the meeting.

“We did discuss possibilities of France’s involvement in Syria. ISIL’s threats to all of us do not reside just within certain boundaries in certain countries,” Chuck Hagel said at a joint news conference.

France was the first country to join US military action against ISIL in Iraq, carrying out two airstrikes since launching operations last month.

Paris has acknowledged that involvement in Syria is being considered, having at first ruled it out.

But the French defence minister would not confirm the matter was discussed in Washington, preferring to talk of Iraq.

“France intervened to support the Iraqi authorities which made such a request in application of article 51 of the United Nations. We are there in accordance with that request,” said Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Euronews correspondent Stefan Grobe reported from the Pentagon:
“The meeting made clear once again that Paris is Washington’s closest ally in the fight against the jihadists. But both governments seem to be struggling to shore up additional military support in the region, as the performance of the Iraqi army remains disappointing.”