The Obama administration is considering launching airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria, U.S. officials said Friday, according to the New York Times.
In addition to possible airstrikes by fighter jets and bombers, American officials said they would also consider sending special operations forces into Syria to combat the growing Islamic threat, the Times reported.
“If you come after Americans, we’re going to come after you, wherever you are,” deputy national security adviser Benjamin Rhodes said Friday. “We’re actively considering what’s going to be necessary to deal with that threat and we’re not going to be restricted by borders.”
The possible change in policy comes after Islamic State militants published video online earlier this week beheading an American journalist and threatening to execute another.
“Given what’s happened to Jim Foley, given the public profile that this ISIS bunch has taken, I think it’s easier for the president, and for that matter for members of Congress, to make the case to the public that the United States really ought to be operating in the skies over Syria against this particular group,” Frederic Hof, a former Syria adviser in Obama’s State Department, told the Times.
However, aides were unsure if President Barack Obama — who has been skeptical to use force in Syria — would authorize such military action and said the commander-in-chief has yet to be presented such recommendations, the Times reported.
According to the Times, officials said other options could include arming and increasing efforts to train moderate Syrian rebel forces. The president took heat from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this year when she said failing to arm those forces was a mistake.
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