Report: Obama Mulling Over Airstrikes in Syria

Image: Report: Obama Mulling Over Airstrikes in Syria

Friday, 20 Jun 2014 08:27 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The Obama administration is mulling over possible airstrikes in Syria on the terror camps of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, The Hill reported.

"The president has made clear time and again that we will take action as necessary, including direct U.S. military action, if it's necessary to defend the United States against an imminent threat," a senior administration official said, according to The Hill.

Asked whether that could include ISIS targets in Syria, the official replied, "We don't restrict potential U.S. action to a specific geographic space."

The official noted that the United States has previously taken action in Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula against the terror group al-Qaida, and in Somalia against al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida affiliate.

He also said that U.S. forces in Libya had recently captured Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the alleged mastermind behind the 2012 attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that killed four Americans.

Abu Khatallah is being held aboard the USS New York, a Navy amphibious transport ship, where Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, says he’s being interrogated.

"So again, we're going to do what's necessary," the U.S. official told The Hill. "Clearly, we're focused on Iraq in terms of these additional resources, but we'll continue to focus on the evolving threat of [ISIS] as we consider different options."

Despite potentially targeting ISIS forces in Syria, the official said that the main focus is still centered on the crisis in Iraq, where the terror group has overrun several cities, including Mosul and Tikrit, and is now closing in on the Shiite-controlled capital Baghdad while also launching an offensive against valuable oil fields in the north.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama said he was dispatching up to 300 military advisers to help quash the rising ever-expanding insurgency of Sunni militants in the war-torn state.

The military advisers will join up to 275 being positioned in and around Iraq to provide security and support for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and other American interests.

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