Syria Government, Opposition Given Prior Notification of Attacks on Islamic StatePosted: September 23, 2014
U.S. Expands Campaign Into Country That Has Been a Haven for Islamic State Militants
The Syrian government and opposition said Tuesday they were told by the U.S. of its plan to carry out airstrikes against Islamic State targets on Syrian territory, as the Obama administration opened up a new front in an expanding Middle East war.
“This is a joint coalition effort of which the Syrian opposition is a full-fledged member.”
— Oubai Shahbander, an adviser to the opposition coalition
The disclosure that both the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels fighting to oust it were given prior notification of the attacks came hours after the U.S. and five Middle Eastern allies carried out airstrikes on extremist fighters in the country, where a civil war has been raging for more than three years.
The Syrian government said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sent a letter Monday to the Syrian foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, informing him of the impending strikes against Islamic State bases on Syrian soil.
“But Islamic State prepared for the airstrikes, too, moving their top leadership and most sophisticated weapons from Raqqa, according to residents of the city, the de facto capital of Islamic State.”
The letter was relayed to Damascus by Iraq’s foreign minister, a statement issued by Syria’s foreign ministry said. Syria’s envoy to the United Nations was also notified about the airstrikes “hours before their start,” it said.
Oubai Shahbander, an adviser to the opposition coalition fighting to depose the government of President Bashar al-Assad, said he also was briefed about the airstrikes in advance.
“This is a joint coalition effort of which the Syrian opposition is a full-fledged member,” Mr. Shahbander said.
But Islamic State prepared for the airstrikes, too, moving their top leadership and most sophisticated weapons from Raqqa, according to residents of the city, the de facto capital of Islamic State.
U.S. officials didn’t immediately provide estimates of damage or success of the strikes. They said initial battle damage assessments might be made public later on Tuesday.
The U.S. military said U.S. Air Force fighter planes, armed drones and allied aircraft, the strikes hit nearly two dozen targets in parts of Syria controlled by Islamic State militants.
As part of the strikes on Islamic State positions in Syria, the U.S. said the USS Arleigh Burke and USS Philippine Sea fired 47 Tomahawk missiles from positions in the Red Sea and the North Arabian Sea….(read more)
- Syria says Washington informed it before strikes (newsok.com)
- Putin: Airstrikes against IS in Syria should not be conducted without gov’t consent (inserbia.info)
- Pentagon: US, partners begin airstrikes in Syria (bostonherald.com)
- Islamic State: US begins air strikes on IS targets within Syria (descrier.co.uk)
- US, allies target ISIS in Syria airstrikes (foxnews.com)
- US begins airstrikes in Syria (theage.com.au)