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US mulls IS Syria strikes

August 23, 2014

The White House has said it is prepared to strike 'Islamic State' targets in Syria if the militant group poses a threat to the US. American air attacks in Iraq have slowed the advance of the Sunni militant group.

Bildergalerie Irak Regionalkonflikt ISIS Kämpfer Januar 2014
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo

The US said on Friday that operations against 'Islamic State' (IS) in Syria might be necessary to defeat the militant organization.

"If we see plotting against Americans, we see a threat to the US emanating from anywhere, we stand ready to take action against that threat," Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said.

"We've made very clear time and again that if you come after Americans, we're going to come after you wherever you are, and that's what's going to guide our planning in the days to come," Rhodes added.

A US military official also told the Wall Street Journal that strikes against "high-value targets," such as IS leaders, could be mounted within "an hour, it could be a week."

Rhodes, however, said the US would prefer to see Iraqi security forces and moderate Syrian opposition groups "squeeze the space" for IS.

Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama authorized air strikes against the Islamist group in northern Iraq. Until now, Obama has rejected direct intervention in Syria. Nearly 200,000 people have been killed so far in a three-year-long civil war in the Middle Eastern country.

'A terrorist attack against US'

The Pentagon warned of the IS dangers following the killing of American journalist James Foley by the Sunni militants.

Rhodes said on Saturday that Foley's assassination "represents a terrorist attack against our country."

IS controls parts of northern and eastern Syria, and has also captured large swaths of territory in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq.

shs/kb (AFP, dpa)

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