FRANCE - Syria

French people in favour of ground intervention in Syria: survey

French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris for a press conference on the country's strategy in Syria, 7 September 2015
French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris for a press conference on the country's strategy in Syria, 7 September 2015 Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

A majority of French people would support the country’s participation in a ground military intervention against the Islamic State armed group in Syria as part of an international coalition, according to an Ifop poll published by the Journal du Dimanche on Sunday.

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An intervention on the ground has so far been ruled out by the French authorities. But the Minister for Environment, Segolene Royal, told French media on Sunday that the idea was "not taboo."

France marked a change in strategy over the Syrian conflict earlier this week in announcing it may join Washington in carrying airstrikes on Islamic State jihadist positions in Syria.

France began surveillance flights over Syria on Tuesday and Wednesday as it prepares for possible attacks on Islamic State targets, the army said in a statement Friday.

But French President Francois Hollande said during a press conference Monday that the idea of putting French forces on the ground in Syria would be "unrealistic".

In a survey on 11 and 12 September, 56 per cent of 1,005 French respondents said they favour a ground intervention, while 48 per cent said they are against it. Meanwhile, 58 per cent said they believed the Islamic State group can be defeated militarily, versus 40 per cent who felt the opposite was true.

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