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Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate in France's cross-hair after IS losses

Hollande made the call for military action at a NATO summit on Saturday [AFP]

Date of publication: 10 July, 2016

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French President Francois Hollande has called on its military allies to target the emboldened al-Nusra Front, Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate.

France has called for military action against Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front, after the jihadi group's recent successes.  

President Francois Hollande used a NATO meeting in Poland on Saturday to make the call for international action against al-Nusra Front.

He warned that the recent losses sustained by the Islamic State group could embolden other jihadi groups, such as Nusra.

"[IS] is in retreat, that is beyond dispute [but] we must also avoid a situation whereby as [IS] becomes weaker, other groups become stronger."

Hollande singled out Nusra, and said they had benefited from US-led air raids in Syria - and successes of American-backed Kurdish and Arab forces - against its arch-rival the Islamic State group.

"We must coordinate among ourselves to continue actions against [IS] but also... take effective action against al-Nusra," Hollande said.

He directed his appeal at Russia and the US.

US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to "intensify" military coordination between their two countries in Syria on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, Russia proposed joint air strikes with the US against jihadi targets in Syria - a suggestion that was rebuffed by Washington.

The White House reported that the two leaders, in their call this week, "confirmed their commitment to defeating [IS] (IS) and the Al-Nusra Front".

The two groups are excluded from a broader truce brokered by Moscow and Washington in February.

Meanwhile, AWACS spy planes will be deployed to aid the US-led anti-IS coalition in air raids against militants in Syria.

Agencies contibuted to this story.

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