The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Pentagon is planning to launch surveillance flights over Syria in an effort to gather more intelligence on ISIS.
From the WSJ:
The Pentagon is preparing to send surveillance aircraft, including drones, into Syrian airspace to gather intelligence on Islamist targets, laying the groundwork for a possible expansion of the limited U.S. military air campaign beyond Iraq, senior U.S. officials said.
The move amounts to an acknowledgment that U.S. intelligence-collection efforts must be expanded to provide a better picture of the threat posed by the group calling itself the Islamic State, which holds large swaths of Syrian and Iraqi territory.
U.S. officials also told the Wall Street Journal that the missions will be conducted without the authorization of Bashar al-Assad’s regime and that they do not expect Syrian anti-aircraft systems in the regions targeted to pose a threat to U.S. surveillance aircraft.
The move comes less than a day after Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem warned the U.S. government against unilateral action to counter ISIS in Syria following the group’s takeover of a critical airbase in Syria’s Raqqah province. “Syria is ready to cooperate and coordinate on the regional and international level in the war on terror,” he said, according to the AP. “But any effort to combat terrorism should be coordinated with the Syrian government.”
The Journal reports that surveillance flights could begin “shortly.”