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Obama Authorizes Surveillance Flights Over Syria

RIA Novosti

11:21 26/08/2014 MOSCOW, August 26 (RIA Novosti) -US President Barack Obama has approved surveillance flights over Syria, The Associated Press reported Tuesday, citing two unnamed US officials.

According to the AP sources, the decision may pave the way for US airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) targets.

The White House said Monday it would not comment on Obama’s decision.

“We're not going to comment on intelligence or operational issues, but as we’ve been saying, we’ll use all the tools at our disposal," Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council, was quoted as saying by AP.

On Monday, White House representative Josh Earnest said that Obama had not yet made a decision on whether to pursue any military action in Syria.

Early August, the United States authorized airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq, and on August 19, the group released a video, showing the beheading of US freelance journalist James Foley.

IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS or ISIL), is a jihadist group which was originally composed of a variety of Sunni insurgent groups and had close ties with al-Qaeda. IS militants have been fighting alongside the other rebel groups against the government forces in the Syrian civil war, before launching an offensive in Iraq in June 2014. Later that month, IS announced the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories that had fallen under its control.

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