The French government has made a direct appeal to the UK government to join the fight against Islamic State (IS) in Syria. Government minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says he wants the RAF to use its precision equipment to help bomb the jihadists in their Syrian thiefdom.
Earlier British PM David Cameron outlined his masterplan to battle the extremists to the House of Commons, telling MPs not to let the controversial Iraqi invasion of 2003 influence their thinking. In contrast, Jeremy Corbyn has written to fellow Labour MPs saying he cannot support David Cameron\'s plans for air strikes in war-torn Syria.
It has been reported that French diplomats have been in contact with Labour politicians and that some members of the shadow cabinet are believed to back the PM\'s plans to combat IS. Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn is one of those who has already spoken out in support for Cameron, suggesting there are \"compelling arguments\" for air strikes.
France has been on a diplomatic offensive since the Paris terrorist attacks claimed the lives of 130 civilians in co-ordinated attacks by IS. Today (26 November) French president Francois Hollande met Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the Syrian conflict, with the pair agreeing to share intelligence on IS and other \"terrorists\". Yesterday he met German chancellor Angela Merkel - who agreed to help out more in the battle with IS.
Le Drian writes in the Guardian: \"Just like France, the United Kingdom is working to defeat Isis, training local forces, striking targets in Iraq and providing vital intelligence support. Over Syria, British aircraft are supporting the coalition with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
\"Isis is not just present in Iraq. It operates across the border, in Syria, where its headquarters are located, in Raqqa. It is from Raqqa that some of the main threats against other countries are planned and orchestrated. That\'s why it is now crucial to strike Isis in Syria in order to degrade and, ultimately, to destroy it.\"
The minister believes that the UK has the military force, including Tornado aircrafts and drones that, if put to use in Syria could \"put pressure\" on IS. Hollande announced today after a meeting at the Kremlin that they will increase support to rebel groups battling IS on the ground in Syria.
David Cameron told parliament today: \"We cannot remain neutral in this battle of ideas – we have to back those who share our values with practical help and political representation. It is from Raqqa that some of the main threats against this country are orchestrated. Raqqa, if you like, is the head of the snake.
\"Over Syria we are supporting our allies – the US, France, Jordan and the Gulf countries – with intelligence, surveillance and refuelling. But I believe, as I\'ve said many times before, we should be doing more.\"