France’s army chief of staff said Sunday he does not see any short-term military victory against the Islamic State group, even as President François Hollande called for a global coalition to eradicate ISIS in Syria.
Hollande is set to travel to Washington, D.C., Tuesday to speak to U.S. President Barack Obama and then head to Moscow to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss how their countries’ militaries can work together to eliminate ISIS strongholds.
"There will be no military victory against Daesh in the short term," Pierre de Villiers, France's chief of staff of armed forces, told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche in an interview published on Sunday, according to Reuters, using an Arabic acronym for the Sunni militant group.
“Everybody knows that in the end this conflict will be resolved through diplomatic and political channels," he added.
Military officials and strategists believe that the war may be long-drawn-out as military advances will show little progress unless more work is done to eliminate the terrorist group’s financing and counter its propaganda.
Since the coordinated attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 -- the worst case of violence in France since the Second World War -- the French air force has launched its biggest bombing raids on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, till date.
Reports say that in a span of three days, some 60 bombs were dropped as ISIS training camps or command centers were targeted last week.
However, after the experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan, western leaders have shied away from engaging ISIS in a full-scale ground war. After almost a year of airstrikes, military officials and analysts reportedly agree that there is no easy formula to victory.
“Drawing us into a ground war with them is a trap,” a French government official told the Wall Street Journal last week. “Frankly, I doubt it would go very well.”
The fight against ISIS is further complicated by diplomatic affiliations as Russia and Western countries are divided on who to support in Syria. Moscow has been a staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad while the West maintains that he must cede power.
An international consensus of sorts was arrived at on Saturday after the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a French-sponsored resolution calling on all member states to help eliminate ISIS.