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Sep 24, 2014

U.S. and Arab allies launch first strikes on militants in Syria

WASHINGTON/BEIRUT (Reuters) – The United States and its Arab allies bombed militant groups in Syria for the first time on Tuesday, killing scores of Islamic State fighters, members of a separate al Qaeda-linked group and opening a new front amid shifting Middle East alliances.

The attacks encountered no objection, and even signs of tacit approval, from President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government, which said Washington had warned Damascus in advance.

Sep 23, 2014

Obama vows continued air strikes against extremists in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama vowed more strikes against extremists in Syria on Tuesday after U.S. forces carried out separate air raids targeting Islamic State militants and an al Qaeda affiliate that Washington said was plotting attacks on America and Europe.

“We will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people,” Obama said as he left the White House to travel to the United Nations in New York, where he will meet officials from Arab nations that joined in the strikes against the Islamic State group.

Sep 23, 2014

U.S., Arab partners launch first strikes on IS in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and several Gulf Arab allies launched air and missile strikes on Islamic State strongholds in Syria on Tuesday, U.S. officials said, opening a new, far more complicated front in the battle against the militants.

“I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against (Islamic State) terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement.

Sep 23, 2014

U.S., Arab partners launch first strikes in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and several Gulf Arab allies have launched air and missile strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria, U.S. officials said, opening a new, far more complicated front in the battle against the militants.

“I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against (Islamic State) terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement on Monday.

Sep 23, 2014

Arab role may be key to U.S. strikes in Syria: U.S. officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama wants some Arab participation in air strikes against the Islamic State in order to expand the campaign to Syria, reflecting U.S. concerns that any long-term campaign must count on regional involvement, U.S. officials say.

Obama authorized air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria almost two weeks ago and was briefed on U.S. war plans last week by the U.S. military’s Central Command. But Obama held off on approving those plans as diplomats pushed ahead with efforts to forge a coalition.

Sep 21, 2014

U.S. military struggles to preserve options in Islamic State fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As America re-engages with Iraq and deepens its involvement in the region’s web of sectarian conflicts, the Pentagon has made a practical assessment of the brutal job of stabilizing Baghdad: in the future, U.S. forces may be needed on the front lines.

President Barack Obama has ruled out a combat mission, but military officials and former officials say the reality of a protracted campaign in Iraq and possibly Syria may ultimately require greater use of U.S. troops, including tactical air strike spotters or front-line advisers embedded with Iraq forces.

Sep 17, 2014

U.S. general says cannot rule out larger ground role in Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The most senior U.S. military officer raised the possibility on Tuesday that American troops might need to take on a larger role in Iraq’s ground war against Islamic State militants, but the White House stressed they would not deploy on a combat mission.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there was no intention now to place American military advisers on the ground in direct combat. U.S. assistance is taking other forms, including air strikes.

Sep 16, 2014

U.S. says won’t unleash ‘shock and awe’ air campaign in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is not preparing to unleash a “shock and awe” campaign of overwhelming airstrikes in Syria against Islamic State fighters and instead envisions a more modest, longer-term campaign, Pentagon officials told Congress on Tuesday.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the military’s current plan would be outlined to President Barack Obama on Wednesday by the U.S. military’s Central Command and envisioned striking the group’s safe havens to knock out infrastructure, logistics and command capabilities.

Sep 8, 2014

Turkey to play role in fight against Islamic State

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey is seeking specific roles in a U.S.-led coalition to battle Islamic State fighters, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said after talks with Turkish leaders on Monday, without revealing details.

Turkey was the only Muslim nation in a “core coalition” of 10 countries which met on the sidelines of a NATO summit last week. Any role it plays may be limited by a host of concerns, including fears for 46 Turkish hostages held by the militants.

Sep 8, 2014

Hagel in Turkey to see how far it will go in U.S.-led coalition

ANKARA (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will sound out Turkish leaders on Monday on “how far they’re willing to go” in a U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State despite the militant group’s holding of Turkish hostages and domestic security fears, a U.S. official said.

Turkey was the only Muslim nation in a “core coalition” of 10 countries which met on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Newport, Wales last week. President Barack Obama said he would welcome Ankara’s cooperation after meeting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday.

    • About Phil

      "Phil Stewart has worked for Reuters since 1998 and reported from more than 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt. Before becoming a Washington D.C.-based military affairs and intelligence reporter, Phil covered terrorism, foreign affairs and the Vatican from Rome from 2004 until mid-2009. He has also previously been based in Colombia and Brazil as a foreign correspondent. Before joining Reuters, Phil covered U.S. politics out of Washington D.C. for States News Service. He earned his BS in international relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. ..."
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