Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

WORLD [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

WORLD [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

US STARTS SYRIAN SURVEILLANCE FLIGHTS

WASHINGTON - The U.S. has begun surveillance flights over Syria after President Barack Obama gave the OK, U.S. officials said, a move that could pave the way for airstrikes against Islamic State militant targets there.

While the White House said Mr. Obama has not approved military action inside Syria, additional intelligence on the militants would likely be necessary before he could take that step. Pentagon officials have been drafting potential options for the president, including airstrikes.

Two U.S. officials said Monday that Mr. Obama had approved the flights, while another U.S. official said early today that they had begun. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter by name, and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. began launching strikes against the Islamic State inside Iraq earlier this month, with Mr. Obama citing the threat to American personnel in the country and a humanitarian crisis in the north as his rationale. Top Pentagon officials have said the only way the threat from the militants can be fully eliminated is to go after the group inside neighboring Syria as well.

Mr. Obama has long resisted taking military action in Syria, a step that would plunge the U.S. into a country ravaged by an intractable civil war. However, the president's calculus appears to have shifted since the Islamic State announced last week that it had murdered American journalist James Foley, who was held hostage in Syria. The group is also threatening to kill other U.S. citizens being held by the extremists in Syria.

Administration officials have said a concern for Mr. Obama in seeking to take out the Islamic State inside Syria is the prospect that such a move could unintentionally help embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad. A top Syrian official said Monday any U. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.