WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — President Barack Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria in an effort to monitor the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
CBS News reports that the Pentagon is drafting plans to use airstrikes against ISIS by both manned and unmanned aircraft in Syria to kill the terror group’s leaders and disrupt its operations.
Obama has yet to approve any airstrikes and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said that they would need to be notified of any potential strikes or they would consider it a sign of “aggression.”
“Syria is ready to cooperate and coordinate with regional and international efforts to combat terror in accordance with U.N. resolutions and respect of sovereignty,” al-Moallem said Monday, according to CBS News.
He continued: “Everyone is welcome, including Britain and the United States, to take action against ISIS and Nusra with a prior full coordination with the Syrian government.”
Pentagon officials tell CBS News it’s unlikely they will notify President Bashar Assad’s government of any potential strikes.
Obama has only authorized airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq for humanitarian reasons and to protect American personnel in Erbil. But White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stated that doesn’t mean the president will not pursue strikes in Syria.
“The president has already demonstrated a willingness, where necessary, to use military force to protect the American people, regardless of borders,” Earnest said.
Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told reporters while traveling to Afghanistan that he will recommend the U.S. military move directly against ISIS in Syria once he determines the group poses a threat to the homeland.
“I can tell you with great clarity and certainty that if that threat existed inside of Syria that it would certainly be my strong recommendation that we would deal with it,” Dempsey said. “I have every confidence that the president of the United States would deal with it.”
ISIS has taken over a large swath of territory in Syria and Iraq, including Mosul. Last week, the terror group released a video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley.
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