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Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 12:39

Syria warns US against strikes

By Agencies

 Syria warns US against strikes


BEIRUT - Syria said Monday it was ready to help confront the rising threat from the Islamic State group, but warned the United States against carrying out airstrikes without Damascus' consent, saying any such attack would be considered an aggression.

On Monday, a senior administration official said Obama authorized surveillance flights over Syria, a move that could pave the way for US airstrikes. The official who confirmed the decision was not authorized to discuss Obama's decision publicly by name, and insisted on anonymity.

Speaking in Damascus, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told reporters his government is ready "to cooperate and coordinate'' with any side, including the US, or join any regional or international alliance against the Islamic State group. But he said any military action inside Syria should be coordinated with the Syrian government.

"Any strike which is not coordinated with the government will be considered as aggression,'' he said.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week that Islamic State would eventually need to be addressed on "both sides of what is essentially at this point a non-existent border" between Syria and Iraq.

Dempsey's spokesman confirmed on Monday that options against Islamic State were under review.

"The bottom line is that our forces are well postured to partner with regional allies against ISIS."

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said Western nations that long refused to condemn Assad's enemies were now coming to realize the threat posed by the Islamic State group.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that Obama has not made a decision on whether to take military action inside Syria, but noted that the president has demonstrated his willingness to take military action to protect American citizens.

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