PARIS: France will deploy its aircraft carrier to support operations against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, President Francois Hollande said on Thursday, bolstering Paris’ firepower in the region amid international efforts to launch Syrian peace talks.
The carrier is usually accompanied by an attack submarine, several frigates, refuelling ships, as well as fighter jets and surveillance aircraft.
“The aircraft carrier will enable us to be more efficient in coordination with our allies,” Hollande said at the inauguration of the new defence ministry headquarters in Paris
French warplanes struck their first targets in Syria at the end of September. It was the first country to join the U.S.-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 defence 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.