Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he has spoken with the French defense minister about the possibility of France participating in airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, something the French have so far declined to do.

Hagel spoke Thursday at a Pentagon news conference with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. French President Francois Hollande's office said Thursday that France would "intensify" its support for Syrian opposition forces, but did not provide details on the type of support.

France is participating in coalition airstrikes in Iraq against the Islamic State. Asked whether the airstrikes would be expanded to Syria, Le Drian would only say that France launched strikes in Iraq because the government there requested help.

He also said the fight against the Islamic State was in the beginning stages.