21:03 GMT +318 January 2020
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    In an interview with Sputnik, French President Francois Hollande commented on France's potential involvement in the military operation in the Syrian city and possible deployment of ground troops there.

    "You know that France does not have army for that. Although we provide support for the Iraqi forces in Iraq, it does not mean that we are able to intervene directly, using our army," the French president said.

    "We had been attacking targets in Syria and could continue doing so if it would be in the context of liberating Raqqa. But so far this is not the case," Hollande stated. "In Raqqa, in Syria, we will possibly support Arabic and Kurdish forces as well as anyone one who could unite the moderate elements of the opposition to make them participate in the operation in Raqqa."

    On Thursday, French President Francois Hollande stated that Daesh militans are leaving the Iraqi city of Mosul amid attacks of the US-led coalition and fleeing to Raqa, their stronghold in neighboring Syria.

    The French President stressed the necessity to stabilize Mosul after the end of the military operation and called for the international community not to abandon the city after the offensive is over. He also stated that after the "liberation of Mosul, the next goal will be Raqqa."

    The reports of the prepared offensive on Raqqa have surfaced after the beginning of an operation to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from Daesh. The offensive started on October 17 and involves about 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and 4,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, supported by the US-led international coalition.

    Mosul and Raqqa are large Daesh strongholds in Iraq and Syria, respectively. Daesh seized Mosul in 2014 and Raqqa in 2013 along with a number of other cities and towns in the two countries.

    Related:

    Mosul-Style Op Against Daesh Needs to Be Prepared in Syria's Raqqa - French FM
    US Building Force to Retake Syria's Raqqa From Daesh - Reports
    Tags:
    military operation, Francois Hollande, Syria, Raqqa, France
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