While he told media that France believes sending in ground troops would be of no consequence and be “unrealistic” he said that air strikes are a likelihood. His defence ministry has been instructed, he said, to begin the mission tomorrow (Tuesday) by learning about what is happening on the ground in the north where ISIS troops are located.
“What we want is to know what is being prepared against us and what is being done against the Syrian population,” he told a press conference. After initial missions are complete a decision on air strikes will be made, he said.
France will continue to push for a political solution to the civil war in Syria and any attacks on ISIS will be planned so as not to benefit Syria’s unelected ruling party, a consequence that has made them wary of attacking ISIS (sometimes referred to as IS or ISIL) targets in Syria.
“Nothing must be done that can consolidate or maintain Bashar al-Assad,” Mr Hollande said. As part of the coalition battling ISIS, President Hollande said that France has already carried out some 217 air strikes against militant strongholds in Iraq.
With ISIS ruling territory in Syria, terrorising locals and destroying parts of cities, including ancient ruins in Palmyra, and with the population fleeing in large numbers after four years of civil war and deprivation, more powers are lining up to attack ISIS there.
The Australian government is far along the path to approving air strikes in Syria and may give their military the go-ahead before the end of this week. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron is rallying support in the U.K. parliament for a vote to launch air attacks in Syria.
In the past year alone the U.S. had conducted over 6,500 strikes against ISIS in Syria.
If France does decide to attack ISIS positions with bombers and fighter jets, President Hollande did not say when those attacks would begin.