French air strikes launched against Islamic State jihadists in Syria on Sunday may win Paris political capital, but are unlikely to yield serious military gains or stop terrorist attacks, analysts say.
“We will strike each time that our national security is at stake”, BBC reported, citing the statement as saying.
Hollande’s office said that “France has hit Syria” based on information from French reconnaissance flights sent earlier this month.
The deepening of France’s involvement in the fractious Syrian conflict shows how concerns over Islamic State have begun to outweigh Western opposition to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“If we wait while doing nothing then we are taking the risk of letting Daesh claim the Palestinian cause as its own”, Fabius said, referring to the Arabic acronym for ISIL.
France has been on high alert since January, when gunmen rampaged across Paris killing 17 people.
Six aircraft were used in the mission, which was led by the French but closely coordinated with the U.S.-led coalition, he said.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls said France was going after Islamic State “sanctuaries where those who want to hit France are trained”.
“We are part of the coalition in Iraq [against ISIS]”, French President Francois Hollande said at a news conference.
The announcement of the strikes in Syria comes the day before Hollande joins world leaders for the start of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where the 4-year Syrian war is expected to be at the center of debate.
France had previously confined its airstrikes against the IS to Iraqi air space.
In recent weeks, there have been allegations that the U.S. military has been playing down the IS threat in intelligence reports, to paint a rosier picture of its efforts.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, however, told ARD television on Sunday that the formation of a transitional Syrian government should be kept separate from discussions on the future of Assad.
The United States and European countries including France have repeatedly branded Assad as “part of the problem – not the solution” to the crisis, blaming him for the vast majority of deaths in the war.