France sending reconnaissance flights over Syria against IS

France sending reconnaissance flights over Syria against IS
France will send reconnaissance flights over Syria beginning Tuesday to help plan airstrikes in the fight against the Islamic State group, President Francois Hollande said.
2 min read
07 September, 2015
Hollande also confirmed that France would not send ground troops into Syria [Getty]

France will launch surveillance flights over Islamic State group (IS) positions in Syria from Tuesday, President Francois Hollande said on Monday.

"I have asked the defence ministry that from tomorrow surveillance flights can be launched over Syria, allowing us to plan airstrikes against Daesh (the Islamic State group)," Hollande told a press conference in Paris.

He also confirmed that France would not send ground troops into the country.

"I consider it would be inconsequential and unrealistic to send French troops into Syria on the ground," he said.

"Unrealistic because we would be the only ones. Insignificant because it would be transformed into an occupation force, so we won't do it.

"It's for regional forces to take their responsibilities. France, however, will work to find political solutions."

He said that finding a political transition that sidelined Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was "essential".

"The transition is an essential point. Nothing must be done that can consolidate or maintain Bashar al-Assad," he said.

IS takes control of last regime-held oil field

Activists say members of the Islamic State group have captured the last oil field held by the regime.

The activists said the extremists captured the Jazal oil field near in central Syria late Sunday after intense clashes with government forces in the area in the central province of Homs.

Syria-based activist Bebars al-Talawy said via Skype that the IS fighters first attacked army posts around the Jazal field then stormed it.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Monday all the engineers working in the field moved to the nearby government-controlled Shaer gas field.

He said government troops withdrew from the field but now overlook parts of it.

He reported that the field is now out of commission.

IS fighters control many of Syria's oil fields, which are mostly in the country's eastern regions bordering Iraq.