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US launches air strikes on Islamic State positions in Syria — Pentagon

September 23, 2014, 6:47 updated at: September 23, 2014, 7:19 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
“U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles”, John Kirby said
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© AP/TASS TV

WASHINGTON, September 23. /ITAR-TASS/. The United States and its allies have launched air strikes on the positions of the Islamic State (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - ISIL) group in Syria, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said on Monday evening.

“U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles,” Kirby said. “Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time,” he added.

“The decision to conduct theses strikes was made earlier today [Monday] by the U.S. Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the commander in chief. We will provide more details later as operationally appropriate,” Kirby said.

He declined to specify which states are involved in the operation together with the United States. Only France previously said it joined the American missile and bomb strikes on the ISIL positions in Iraq. Meanwhile, Reuters reported with reference to American military that Arab countries assisted the United States in the operation.

Strikes on Islamists not only in Iraq, but also in Syria — this is one of the main components of the strategy of fight against ISIL, worked out by the United States and recently presented by President Barack Obama. Until recently, the U.S. Air Force targeted only ISIL positions in Iraq. Since August 8, it has launched more than 170 air strikes on the Islamic State militants there.

The United States is striking the ISIL positions in Syria without asking the country government’s permission. This approach has evoked criticism not only in Damascus, but also in Moscow. The Kremlin press service reported on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon held a telephone conversation to discuss, in particular, combating the Islamic State extremist group in Syria. The Russian president said the international community’s actions in this regard should be coordinated with Damascus.

“The Russian side stressed that air strikes on the Islamic State terrorist bases located in the Syrian territory should not be launched without the Syrian government’s consent,” the Kremlin said.

Meanwhile, the United States does not rule out the possibility to co-operate with Russia in the fight against the Islamic State extremist group. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said this at a briefing on Monday.

He added that the U.S.-Russia relations in combating terrorism continue.

“I think there is an opportunity for us to demonstrate some cooperation, coordination between the United States and Russia despite our differences in Ukraine,” Earnest said.

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