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French Defense Minister Warns: ISIS Making Substantial Progress in Syria

French officials have warned that the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) continues to move through Syria with reckless abandon, showing no signs of weakness and eyeing the takeover of the country’s northern region of Aleppo, a city whose residents’ fate grows gloomier each day.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the Parliament Tuesday that ISIS is undoubtedly making “very significant progress” in “Syria at this very moment,” as he was there to defend France’s continued efforts in the region as a part of theU.S.-led coalition.

The French military has thus far only conducted surveillance missions over Syria, but has decided to step up its campaign and move forward on carrying out airstrikes, and it has been the Defense Minister’s job to convince Parliament on the merits of the strategy, Agence France-Presse reports.

“I’m thinking in particular of what is currently happening in the Aleppo region,” Le Drian told parliamentary leaders.

He also mentioned that the U.S. and Western-backed Free Syrian Army are facing dire straits, and that its very existence may imminently dissolve.

“There is an extremely strong offensive taking place on the small town of Marea; which if it succeeded would wipe out what we still call the Free Syrian Army or the national Syrian coalition, or what is left of it,” he warned.

Le Drian pledged that the administration under President Francois Hollande would not deploy French ground troops into the country but would support allied operations and rebel movements if needed.

“The only possibility is that Syria’s opposition forces mobilize with the support of countries in the region,” he said. Then there could be support from France and the coalition’s countries.

At home, France is dealing with a migrant crisis stemming primarily from the civil war in Syria. French President Francois Hollande has pledged to accept 24,000 migrants over the next two years as part of a pan-European effort to address the refugee issue.

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