France plans air strikes in Syria in coming weeks: minister

Reuters News
|
Posted: Sep 16, 2015 2:55 AM

PARIS (Reuters) - France is planning air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria in the coming weeks in an effort to stem its growing presence in the country, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Wednesday.

France, which has so far only taken part in strikes in Iraq, began reconnaissance flights over Syria a week ago in order to gather information on Islamic State positions.

Asked in an interview on France Inter radio when France would begin air strikes in Syria, Le Drian said "in the coming weeks", adding that he did not want to give details for strategic reasons.

"As soon as we have well identified targets and we can carry out the strikes that we need to carry out against an enemy who is the Islamic state and who is threatening us," he said.

Le Drian said Islamic State's presence in Syria had expanded quickly in recent months.

(Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt; editing by Ralph Boulton)