Top US officials say President Barack Obama wants to decide American strategy for combating extremist group Islamic State’s strongholds in Syria. Yet the administration is still scrambling to understand the goals and limits of potential military action.
The United States government is tracking as many as 300 Americans supposedly fighting with Islamic State, the jihadist group with a heavy presence in parts of Syria and Iraq, according to senior US officials.
The US and the UK face a dilemma in battling the Islamic State, because it would likely mean siding with Assad in Syria against an enemy they helped create and against wishes of their allies in the region, political analyst Chris Bambery told RT.
The US has already began surveillance flights over Syria, American officials say, as Washington contemplates airstrikes against Islamic State targets and confirms there are no plans to coordinate anti-terror attacks with the Syrian government.
A 33-year-old American man who grew up in Minnesota and then moved to California was killed over the weekend in Syria while battling alongside the militant grew formerly known as ISIS, NBC News reported on Tuesday.
Islamic State militants are holding a third American hostage, a 26-year-old humanitarian worker kidnapped last year in Syria. The jihadist group is demanding a ransom of $6.6 million and the release of a Muslim woman from a US prison.
Five men who left Britain in October last year have been shown on CCTV footage leaving the UK to join the Islamic State under the guise of taking a vacation in Turkey. One of the men could now be the key to identifying James Foley’s murderer.
In order to stop the Islamic State from gaining more power, the United States is prepared to use a variety of options, including airstrikes in Syria without Damascus' consent, if backed by regional and European partners, US officials said.
The father of the man suspected to be ‘Jihadi John,’ who beheaded journalist James Foley, is awaiting trial in New York for the bombing of two US embassies, which killed a total of 224. He is also accused of being a top lieutenant for Osama bin Laden.