French President Emmanuel Macron says France is ready to help Syria defend itself against “terrorist groups” but Russia will provide no help.
France has called on Russia to help it fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS.
In an interview with French daily Le Monde, Macron said France was prepared to send in the troops to “protect the sovereignty and security of the French people”.
“It is a matter of a moment, and it is our intention to make this decision as soon as possible,” he said.
“It is an important step to defend the sovereignty of our people, to prevent the return of Daesh [ISIL] and to defend France.”
France will send a force of 2,000 soldiers to Syria’s capital of Damascus to join a US-led coalition against the militant group.
Moscow will send around 1,000 to Damascus, where the United Nations is building a humanitarian corridor for Syrian refugees.
The two countries will work together to improve the humanitarian situation in Syria, Macron added.
France, Russia, Turkey and Jordan have agreed on a joint response to the ISIL threat, but Turkey has criticised the decision to deploy French troops to the country, saying it violates international law.
The country has also called on France to withdraw from Syria.
The European Union, the US and Turkey have imposed sanctions on Russia, accusing it of supporting ISIL.
Macron said that he had been meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, to discuss how to improve relations between the two countries.
He added that the French government has offered to cooperate with Russia in combating the ISIL.
“We are not seeking a new strategic partnership with Russia, and our interests and interests of the European Union are not compromised,” Macron said.