France rules out air strikes in Syria

France is the first nation to join the United States in launching military action against ISIS

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French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Monday his nation would not launch air strikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants based in Syria despite having bombed a suspected target of the group in northern Iraq last week.

France is the first nation to join the United States in launching military action against ISIS, which has forced Kurdish refugees to flee over the border into Turkey.

Asked why France would send jets to bomb a target near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and not do the same against ISIS in Syria, Fabius said his government acted at the behest of Baghdad to provide air protection.

“We have decided to say yes according to the Article 51 of the U.N. charter and President Hollande ordered air strike, which has taken place a few days ago,” Fabius said, answering questions at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Fabius reiterated France's position that it will continue to support the moderate opposition against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but that “the French president has said we do not have intention to do the same in Syria, I mean by air.”

“I think it is possible to act. Therefore the question is not a question of legality, international legality. But, first, France cannot do everything. And second, we consider that to support the moderate opposition and to fight both Bashar and Daech (ISIS) is a necessity,” Fabius said.

Fabius' comments came as Syria's opposition called for air strikes to be immediately launched against Islamist fighters seizing villages in the north of the country.

"We must begin air strikes immediately in Syria," Syrian National Coalition president Hadi al-Bahra told a news conference.

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