French Rafale fighter planes at an undisclosed
French Rafale fighter planes at an undisclosed location in the Gulf Getty Images

France has suggested that Syrian government forces could fight alongside other opposition groups against Isis. French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said France will also provide Russia with a map of rebel groups to bomb and those to avoid, as it seeks to coordinate operations against the jihadists in the wake of the Paris attacks.

"Troops on the ground cannot be ours, but [there can be] Syrian soldiers from the Free Syrian Army, Sunni Arab states, and why not regime troops," Fabius told RTL radio.

The comments indicate a shift in policy from France which had previously demanded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step aside.

Fabius added: "We do not say [Mr Assad's departure] has to happen immediately. There is no chance for him to be elected, if the elections are lawful."

An official later stressed that this cooperation could only occur with a transitional Syrian government. "It could only happen in the framework of a political transition and Fabius stresses that this transition is urgent and indispensable," the official said.

After earlier talks with long-term Assad ally, Russia, in Moscow, President Francois Hollande said the two countries would exchange intelligence on rebel groups including Isis for their bombing campaigns.

Hailing the success of the talks, Fabius said Russian President Vladimir Putin "asked us to put together a map of the forces that are not terrorists and combating Daesh [Isis]", adding that Putin "committed to not bombing those groups as soon as we supply this map, which we will do".

At the meeting, Putin said Russia and France were ready to unite against a "mutual enemy", but reaffirmed that Assad and the Syrian regime were allies in the fight against Isis.