UPDATE, 9/23 — 12:25 a.m. ET: DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) – Damascus says Washington informed Syria’s UN envoy before striking Islamic State in Syria.
The U.S. military on Monday began striking Islamic State targets in Syria using a “mix of fighters, bombers and Tomahawk missiles,” Rear Admiral John Kirby said on Twitter.
US military & partner nation forces have begun striking ISIL targets in Syria using mix of fighters, bombers and Tomahawk missiles.
— Rear Adm. John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) September 23, 2014
“Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time,” Kirby added in a statement. “The decision to conduct theses strikes was made earlier today 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.”
According to multiple reports, the U.S. was joined by some Arab countries in the mission to strike hard targets. Those nations were identified by a source as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, ABC News reported.
U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria.
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) September 23, 2014
Fox News aired amateur video purportedly showing the first airstrikes. Catherine Herridge, the network’s chief intelligence correspondent, said the cable news channel felt “comfortable” airing the video, noting it had been geo-located to Ar-Raqqah, Syria and appeared to be corroborated through other videos.
It was not immediately clear how Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would respond to airstrikes. U.S. planners told the Washington Post they expected him to stand down and allow forces to freely attack the Islamic State.
President Barack Obama had previously said in a primetime address to the nation that he would not hesitate to go on the offensive in Syria, warning militants that they will “find no safe haven.”
“[I[ have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq,” he said at the time. “This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”
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