U.S. mulls airstrikes on Syria to stop Islamic State: report

U.S. mulls airstrikes on Syria to stop Islamic State: report

PanARMENIAN.Net - In order to stop the Islamic State from gaining more power, the United States is prepared to use a variety of options, including airstrikes in Syria without Damascus' consent, if backed by regional and European partners, U.S. officials said, RT reported.

The border between Iraq and Syria is “essentially non-existent” at this point, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week, hinting the U.S. would eventually need to strike the Islamic State positions in both states.

With no final decision yet made, President Obama is “committed to coordinating and consulting with Congress,” but “will not hesitate to use his authority” to protect Americans, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

In the meantime, apparently to gather more intelligence on potential targets, the Pentagon is already preparing to send drones and surveillance aircraft into Syrian airspace.

Syrian air-defense systems won’t be a threat, a senior U.S. official told The Wall Street Journal, adding that the drones would enter Syrian airspace without any approval or authorization from the Syrian government.

Syria's Foreign Minister meanwhile warned the U.S. on Monday that “any strike which isn't coordinated with the government will be considered as aggression.”

He reminded that for years Syrian officials have been warning about the terror threat posed by radical Islamist fighting in Syria, and the need to cut off their funding and resources.

Syria is ready to join any regional or international alliance against the Islamic State, the minister said, emphasizing that any military action should be coordinated with the government “which represents Syrian sovereignty.”

The IS fighters – known for torture, public punishments and executions of those opposing them – have gained significant ground in both Syria and Iraq after its initial blitz assault on the Iraqi city of Mosul in mid-June. The group has since declared the creation of an Islamic State, or caliphate, straddling the Iraq-Syria border.

In order to stop the Islamic State advance and protect U.S. citizens and interests in Iraq, the United States has launched almost 100 airstrikes on terrorist positions since beginning of a limited air campaign on August 8. In a macabre response to that military action, Islamic State released a video last week depicting the beheading of American photojournalist, James Foley, who was missing since 2012 after being kidnapped in Syria.

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