France says it may carry out airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria as an act of self-defense. Last week French aircraft started to undertake reconnaissance missions over Syria. On Monday, French President Francois Hollande said French military sorties in Syria would soon expand to include airstrikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). “We are part of the coalition in Iraq [against ISIS],” Hollande said in a news conference with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari. “We started reconnaissance flights [in Syria] to enable us to consider air strikes if they were necessary and they will be necessary in Syria.”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the use of weapons on Syrian territory is justified due to a string of Islamist attacks in Europe. “We received specific intelligence indicating that the resent terrorist attacks against France and other European nations were organized by Daesh [Arabic derogatory term for IS] in Syria. Due to this threat we decided to start reconnaissance flights to have the option for airstrikes, if that would be necessary. This is self-defense,” the minister told the Belgian media. FULL REPORT