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France- Syria

France to deploy aircraft carriers to support operations against IS in Syria

The Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.
The Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. RFI/Sami Boukhelifa

France is to deploy its Charles de Gaulle aircraft carriers to support operations against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and in Iraq the French presidency said after a defence cabinet meeting on Thursday.

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"It has been decided to deploy the contingency alongside the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to participate in operations against Daesch (IS) and its affiliate groups," France’s presidency said in a statement on Thursday.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is usually accompanied by an attack submarine, several frigates and a refuelling ship.

It will add to the six Rafale jets located in the United Arab Emirates and the six Mirages planes in Jordan.

Since joining airstrikes against IS positions in Iraq in February 2014, the flagship of the French navy has returned to its base in the French Mediterranean port of Toulon.

The statement added that Paris supported efforts to reach a political transition in Syria, but that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could in no way be part of the country's future.

France joined the US-led coalition strike against IS targets in Syria earlier this year (along with Turkey) and it launched its two first airstrikes against the jihadists in October, after a year of bombing IS in Iraq.

Since a series of jihadists attacks by gunmen in France earlier this year, the French have stepped up efforts to fight radicalisation and like the United State and Britain, says it acting in self-defence by striking jihadists in Syria.

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