World Bulletin / News Desk
Speaking at a meeting of defense ministers from the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL, Hollande said the operation to retake Iraq’s second city would have widespread repercussions.
“The recapture is not an end in itself,” he said in Paris. “We must already anticipate the consequences of the fall of Mosul.”
The president said all ethnic and religious groups should have a role in the city’s future and added that the recapture of Mosul, which ISIL took in June 2014, should be swiftly followed by an attack on Raqqah, the extremist group’s Syrian stronghold.
“If Mosul falls, Raqqah will be ISIL's last bastion… We must see to it that ISIL is destroyed and eradicated everywhere.”
Hollande also called for “vigilance” over the possible return of foreign fighters to Europe from Iraq.
French officials have said around 300 French fighters are among the estimated 4,000 to 5,000 ISIL extremists in Mosul.
Defense ministers from 13 nations, including U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, are attending the Paris talks, a week after Iraqi and Kurdish forces launched an operation to retake Mosul.