US, France discuss potential French role in Syria: Hagel

US and French defence chiefs on Thursday discussed the possibility of a French role in an American-led air war against the Islamic State group in Syria, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.

AFP| Last Updated: Oct 03, 2014, 05:07 AM IST

Washington: US and French defence chiefs on Thursday discussed the possibility of a French role in an American-led air war against the Islamic State group in Syria, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.

But his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, would not confirm or deny that the subject came up during his talks at the Pentagon.

"Yes, we did discuss possibilities of France`s involvement in Syria," Hagel said at a joint news conference.

The IS group presents a threat that transcends borders, he said, adding: "So it was an issue that we did discuss."

Le Drian said France was taking part in air strikes against IS in Iraq because Baghdad had made a formal request under the UN charter.

Pressed again on the Syria issue by French journalists after the news conference, Le Drian said: "I cannot answer a question that was not asked."

France is one of five European countries that have committed aircraft to the campaign in Iraq but none of them are involved in the US-led air attacks on IS in neighboring Syria.

Five Arab countries are participating in the American-led bombing raids in Syria.

The French military said Wednesday that it would deploy three more fighter jets and a naval ship to the Middle East to bolster support for Iraqi forces fighting the IS militants.