PARIS– France is “ready to play a full part” in actions to protect and help civilians in Iraq from attacks from the militant group that calls itself Islamic state, French President Francois Hollande‘s office said Friday in a statement.
France will discuss possible actions in Iraq with the U.S. and its partners to end civilians’ sufferings, the statement said. Mr. Hollande welcomed U.S. President Barack Obama‘s decision to authorize air strikes in Iraq to stop Islamic State and allow efforts to help civilians and displaced people.
The statement said religious minorities–notably Christians and Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking group that follow a pre-Islamic religion– are victims of “intolerable abuses.”
France will push at the United Nations Security Council, where it holds a permanent seat, to take steps to create conditions allowing the international community to bring aid and protection to civilians.
The French president had Thursday pledged support to Kurdish forces engaged in fighting the Islamic State’s advances, although he didn’t give details on the kind of support France would provide.
U.S. jet fighters hit Islamic State artillery positions in northern Iraq on Friday, the first of what is expected to be a series of American strikes meant to halt the Sunni extremist advance on the Kurdish capital of Erbil.
The strikes were the first since President Barack Obama authorized U.S. military action to target radical Islamic forces in the Kurdish city, where the U.S. has diplomatic and military personnel aiding the Kurds.
– Dion Nissenbaum contributed to this article.
(via WSJ Blogs)