On Monday, the United States military and five of its Arab allies launched airstrikes at Islamic State targets in Syria. After launching 190 airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq, these were the first from the United States to enter Syria.
The Pentagon released a statement acknowledging the new development in the war called for by President Obama, and referring to the group as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles. Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time.”
USA Today reported that a senior Defense Department official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the attack, claimed that the attack was carried out by “warplanes dropping bombs and ships firing cruise missiles,” and that it “hit about 20 ISIL targets, including headquarters buildings for the militants who have based their movement in Syria.”
According to the Associated Press, U.S. officials claimed that the airstrikes began around 8:30 p.m. EDT, and were conducted by the United States, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
Last week, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Army General Martin Dempsey told U.S. Senators, “We will be prepared to strike ISIL targets in Syria that degrade ISIL’s capabilities.”
“This won’t look like a shock-and-awe campaign, because that’s simply not how ISIL is organized, but it will be a persistent and sustainable campaign,” Dempsey said.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that the plan to combat Islamic State militants “includes targeted actions against ISIL safe havens in Syria, including its command and control logistics capabilities and infrastructure.”
According to USA Today, about two thirds of the estimated 30,000 Islamic State fighters are based in Syria.
The Associated Press reported that the U.S. has been “increasing its surveillance flights over Syria, getting better intelligence on potential targets and militant movements,” and that “none of Monday’s airstrikes