Despite its unilateral decision to get involved, France is seeking help from its regional allies and the international community.
Christian Rouyer, French ambassador to Mali, reiterated the need for the French offensive in Mali.
"We had a friendly country that was on the verge of dying," Rouyer said Friday. "It was absolutely necessary to act with urgency. We did it, I believe, with full knowledge of the reasons."
Involvement brings perils.
After neighboring Algeria allowed France to use its airspace to take on insurgents, militants angry about the move stormed a gas field in eastern Algeria and took hostages, leading to three days of chaos that ended Saturday, leaving 23 hostages and dozens of Islamist militants dead.
Still, leaders from several countries have offered troops or logistical support.
The European Union has approved a training mission. Canada and Britain are deploying military transport aircraft. Nigeria is set to deploy soldiers as part of a U.N.-mandated African force to fight the insurgents.
No military aid from U.S.
U.S. policy prohibits direct military aid to Mali because the fledgling government is the result of a coup. No support can go to the Malian military directly until leaders are chosen through an election, said Victoria Nuland, a State Department spokeswoman.
So far, the United States has only shared intelligence from intercepted signals and satellites with France, defense officials said.
U.S. trainers will be in African nations to prepare forces set to be deployed in Mali. Trainers will be in Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo and Ghana.
The United Nations is warning of a record number of Malians fleeing to neighboring nations.
The unrest could soon displace up to 700,000 in the country and around the region, said Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency.