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Senior Officials: U.S. Would Hit Back Against Assad Attack

FILE - This Aug. 1, 2013 file photo posted on the official Facebook page of the Syrian Presidency shows Syrian President Bashar Assad talking with soldiers during Syrian Arab Army Day in Darya, Syria. For the first time in the Syrian civil war, militants linked to al-Qaida are hunkered down on Israel's doorstep. Israelis in the lush, hilly Golan Heights who have long considered Assad their bitter foe are now worried about something more ominous, that they could become the rebels' next target. The arrival of the Nusra Front, al-Quaida’s Syrian branch, comes just two weeks after Israel ended a 5-day war against Hamas on its southern border, giving the conflict weary nation another reason to worry. (AP Photo/Syrian Presidency via Facebook, File) AP Photo/Syrian Presidency via Facebook, File\n

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior Obama administration officials say the United States would retaliate if Syrian President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd) were to order his forces to go after American planes launching airstrikes against terror targets in Syria.

FILE - This Aug. 1, 2013 file photo posted on the official Facebook page of the Syrian Presidency shows Syrian President Bashar Assad talking with soldiers during Syrian Arab Army Day in Darya, Syria. (AP Photo/Syrian Presidency via Facebook, File) 

The officials say such a move would put Assad's significant air defenses at risk. They say the U.S. has a good sense of where those air defenses are located, as well as their command and control installations.

President Barack Obama has authorized U.S. airstrikes inside Syria to go after Islamic State militant targets. However, no strikes in Syria have been carried out so far.

The officials insisted on anonymity Monday in order to discuss the administration's thinking on the matter.

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