U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday he discussed with France its possible involvement in the U.S.-led campaign in Syria but his French counterpart would not be drawn on whether Paris might join in airstrikes.

France was the first country to join the U.S.-led coalition in airstrikes on Islamic State insurgents in Iraq, who have also taken control of large parts of neighboring Syria during the course of the three-year-old civil war there.

However, France has raised concerns that airstrikes in Syria could leave a void that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces may fill and has called for a concerted effort to reinforce and train moderate anti-Assad rebels on the ground. […]