France has reportedly decided to deploy its aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to support Chammal operations in the Middle East.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier would support French military operations until April this year.

In a New Year speech to the French military in Orleans, France President Emmanuel Macron was quoted by Reuters as saying: “The aircraft carrier will support Chammal operations (in the Middle East) from January to April 2020 before deploying to the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea.”

The deployment has been announced amid escalating tensions between Iran and the US following the killing of Iran’s military commander general Qasem Soleimani earlier this month.

Soleimani died in an air strike ordered by US President Donald Trump.

This context has raised concerns that the combat against the Islamic State (IS) militants has taken a step back.

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France’s ongoing Opération Chammal was launched against IS in 2014 to stop the expansion of the terrorist group. It is a French military operation in Iraq and Syria.

The aircraft carrier deployment will be used to strengthen the joint operations with European countries.

The 261.5m-long aircraft carrier can accommodate 1,150 ship crew, 550 aircrews and 50 air support staff. It can also hold 1,950 plus short-term accommodation for 800 marines.

With a displacement capacity of 38,000t, Charles de Gaulle was launched in May 1994 and commissioned in September 2000.