World News

Majority of French people favour sending troops to Syria: poll

French President Francois Hollande attends his news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, September 7, 2015. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - A majority of French people are in favour of sending troops to fight Islamic State militants in Syria, a prospect that President Francois Hollande has flatly ruled out, a poll released on Sunday showed.

Some 56 percent of those questioned were in favour of a ground intervention as part of an international coalition, according to an Ifop poll for Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

France began reconnaissance missions over Syria last week in preparation for a decision on whether to launch air strikes against Islamic State militants.

Until now France has only taken part in air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq over concerns that strikes against the group in Syria could boost Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Paris says must leave power.

French President Francois Hollande last week ruled out any ground intervention in Syria, saying that it was up to Syrians and regional states to do the work on the ground.

Buy senior government minister Segolene Royal, who is charge of the energy and environment portfolios, refused to entirely close the door to sending ground troops.

“The question of sending ground troops is not yet on the table... but obviously nothing is taboo,” Royal said on RTL radio.

The poll was conducted by telephone on Sept. 11-12 among 1,005 people over the age of 18 and had a margin of error of 1.8 percent.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Catherine Evans