AP source: Obama backs surveillance over Syria
WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria, a senior administration official said late Monday, a move that could pave the way for U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State militant targets.
While the White House says Obama has not approved military action inside Syria, additional intelligence on the militants would likely be necessary before he could authorize such action. The Pentagon has begun planning for a military response, including airstrikes.
The U.S. is already striking the Islamic State inside Iraq. But Obama began considering going after the group in neighboring Syria after the militants announced last week that they had murdered an American journalist there and threatened to also kill additional U.S. hostages.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that Obama has demonstrated his willingness to order military action when necessary to protect American citizens.
“That is true without regard to international boundaries,” he said.
The White House would not comment on Obama’s decision to authorize surveillance flights over Syria.
The official who confirmed the decision was not authorized to discuss Obama’s decision publicly by name, and insisted on anonymity.
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