France carries out first Syria reconnaissance flight

September 8, 2015 16:43


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PARIS - France carried out its first reconnaissance flight over Syria earlier on Tuesday using Rafale fighter jets, the French Ministry of Defence said, as it extends its combat against Islamic State militants.

French President Francois Hollande announced on Monday that France would begin reconnaissance flights over Syria on Tuesday that would subsequently enable it to consider air strikes.

France until now has only taken part in air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq because it feared strikes against the group in Syria could strengthen Syrian President Bashar Assad.

An official at the French Ministry of Defence said Tuesday's mission was designed to gather intelligence on Islamic State and strengthen France's own ability to assess the situation in Syria.

"Similar missions could be carried out in the coming days," the official said.

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