Defense Officials Push for Attack on ISIS in Syria

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 26 2014 10:32 PM

Pressure Builds for an Attack on ISIS in Syria

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The Pentagon. Some Defense officials are pushing for a strike against ISIS in Syria.

Photo by STAFF/AFP/Getty Images

McClatchy's Washington Bureau is reporting that Defense Department officials have joined the chorus of voices calling for President Obama to strike ISIS in Syria. 

From McClatchy

Senior Pentagon officials have been conferring with the White House on hitting Islamic State targets just inside eastern Syria, from where the group launched an atrocity-filled offensive in mid-June that overran roughly half of Iraq and brought it to the outskirts of Baghdad, said two U.S. Defense officials.
The White House, however, has yet to request a formal proposal, said the Defense officials, who expressed frustration over what both separately called the administration’s “dithering.” They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly.
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Just yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the military plans to carry out surveillance flights over Syria to gather more intelligence on ISIS' operations in the region. However, McClatchy reports that Obama administration officials on Tuesday tried to "tamp down" internal and external expectations that a strike against ISIS could be imminent, even after news of the group's execution of American journalist James Foley. 

The Obama admnistration has also ruled out the possibility of collaboration with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on airstrikes, with State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki telling reporters Tuesday, "we’re not going to ask for permission from the Syrian regime.”

Defense officials told McClatchy that if airstrikes are carried out in Syria, they will likely be similar in intention and scope to the ones the military has carried out against ISIS in Iraq since August 8.  

Osita Nwanevu is a Slate intern.

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