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They said the administration has a need for reliable intelligence from Syria and called the surveillance flights an important avenue for obtaining data. Experts say this is a move that could pave the way for US airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) militant targets.
The US began launching strikes against the Islamic State inside Iraq earlier this month, with Obama citing the threat to American personnel in the country and a humanitarian crisis in the north as his rationale. Top Pentagon officials have said the only way the threat from the militants can be fully eliminated is to go after the group inside neighbouring Syria as well, according to AP.
Colonel Edward W. Thomas, Jr., a spokesman for the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Monday that the US authorities were viewing a possibility of military operations against the Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq. He said the US side was “preparing options to address IS both in Iraq and Syria with a variety of military tools including airstrikes.