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US officials: Obama authorised exploration sorties over Syria

US President Barack Obama granted permission to organise reconnaissance sorties over the Syrian territory to gather intelligence on the Islamic State (IS)'s locations there, US media outlets quoted American officials as saying.

The New York Times newspaper cited officials in the Department of Defence, who were not named, who said the department will use drones and other technologies to collect intelligence from Syria and that the information will not be shared with the Syrian regime.

In similar remarks to CNN, a US official, who was not named, said the sorties could begin at any time, adding that the US army and the CIA are collecting information on the organisation's leaders and whereabouts in Syria.

Meanwhile, AP reported that the US administration needs to collect further intelligence about the organisation's presence in Syria although the White House said Obama did not agree on military action in Syria.

Several US analysts believe the exploratory sorties are a prelude to possible air raids against IS sites in Syria.

The White House did not issue any statements relating to the sorties over Syria.

Yesterday Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moallem announced that Damascus is willingness to cooperate with the US in the fight against terrorism. However, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US will not ask for the Syrian regime's permission to defend American citizens' lives.

Speaking during the daily press briefing yesterday, Psaki said: "When it comes to the interests of the American people, the interests of the United States, we're not going to ask for permission from the Syrian regime. However, there isn't a decision that's been made, and certainly that would be one that would be in the President's hands."

Psaki stressed that the Syrian regime's fight against the Islamic State does not mean that it stands with the United States, saying that the Syrian regime is bombing the Islamic State while refusing the legitimate demands of the Syrian people, which facilitates the organisation's mission to gather supporters.


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