Hollande: France ready to conduct air strikes in Iraq

French president Francois Hollande delivers a speech during a press conference, on September 18, 2014 at the Elysee palace in Paris. (AFP)

French President Francois Hollande says France will not send ground troops to Iraq, and will limit activities to the country, instead of branching out into Syria.

“I decided to respond to the request of the Iraqi authorities to offer aerial support,” Hollande told reporters, according to Agence France-Presse. He added: “We will not go further than that. There will be no ground troops and we will only intervene in Iraq.”

Hollande added that strikes in Iraq would begin as soon as targets are identified.

Hollande’s comments come after U.S. President Barack Obama announced a coalition with more than 40 countries to fight against ISIS, which gained swathes of Iraqi territory in a lightening offensive in June and control provinces in neighboring Syria.

Obama said France and Britain were already flying with the United States over Iraq, adding that Australia and Canada would send military advisors to the country.

He also noted Saudi Arabia’s willingness to base a U.S. mission to train moderate Syrian rebels on its soil and said German paratroopers were also going to take part in a training mission which he did not specify.

He also put to rest the possibility of sending U.S. ground troops as part of the coalition against ISIS.

“The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission,” Obama said at the U.S. Central Command.

(With Agence France-Presse)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43