France's defense minister says French fighter jets will start bombing Islamic State group targets in Syria in the coming weeks, despite growing doubts over whether the U.S.-led air campaign against extremists in the region is working.

Opposition conservative lawmakers argued in Parliament this week against joining the airstrikes, saying it wouldn't change much on the ground.

But Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on France-Inter radio Wednesday that the French strikes would go forward "as soon as we have well-identified targets."

French planes have been striking Iraq but had stayed away from Syria, amid fears that could strengthen President Bashar Assad. Le Drian said the French position changed because of growing IS presence in Syria in recent months.

France's president has said growing concern about refugees also played a role.