France will deploy its aircraft carrier to support operations against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, President Francois Hollande said.
The carrier is usually accompanied by an attack submarine, several frigates, refuelling ships, as well as fighter jets and surveillance aircraft, Reuters reported.
“The aircraft carrier will enable us to be more efficient in coordination with our allies,” Hollande said at the inauguration of the new defense ministry headquarters in Paris on Thursday.
French warplanes struck their first targets in Syria at the end of September. It was the first country to join the US-led coalition in Iraq and has also provided limited logistical support to Syrian rebels it considers moderate, including Kurds.
However, Hollande’s government has faced criticism at home for his Syria policy with some saying Paris has lacked flexibility and cohesion on the crisis.
A meeting on Thursday of France’s defense cabinet, which includes key ministers and officials from the intelligence services and military, aimed to outline how France will proceed over the next months in Syria and Iraq on both a political and military level.
“The president underlined the importance of supporting the Vienna process to move towards a political transition,” a statement from the presidency following the meeting said, referring to international talks held in recent weeks between key stakeholders.
“He said the core elements of any accord had to be the fight against Islamic State and the end of the bombing of civilians. [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] cannot be in any way part of the future of Syria.”
The talks have so far yielded no breakthrough, although a new round is expected next week.
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