French special forces are advising rebels on the ground in northern Syria in an offensive against Islamic State fighters for control of the border town of Manbij, the military said on Thursday. An army spokesman said Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had confirmed that France was providing weapons, air support and advice in the campaign aimed at driving Islamic State from territory along the Syria-Turkey border. “We never go into details about anything to do with special forces, which are by their nature special. You won’t get any details to protect these men’s activities,” army spokesman Colonel Gilles Jaron told a regular news briefing. The French advisers are helping US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters of the Syria Democratic Forces that are trying to push IS militants out of their key stronghold between the Turkish border and the city of Raqqa, their headquarters in Syria.