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Confusion over Damascus’ foreknowledge of anti ISIS air strikes

BEIRUT | / NNA - September 23, 2014, 20h41
 US Navy aircraft
ARABIAN GULF - On September 23, 2014, an F/A-18C Hornet, attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87, prepares to launch from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) to conduct strike missions against ISIL targets. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert Burck/Released)
Washington and Damascus release conflicting statements about Syrian regime’s knowledge of US anti-ISIS air strikes.
News came in on Tuesday that US air strikes in Syria, which commenced on Monday night, have hit one of their targets, Khorasan the al-Qaeda affiliated group. Meanwhile Washington and Damascus have released conflicting statements as to whether Damascus was pre-warned of these strikes, having previously declared any non-approved strike on Syrian soil would be considered a breach of international law.

The Syrian government claimed on Tuesday morning it had received a letter from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered by the Iraqi foreign minister telling it the United States and its allies planned to attack Islamic State in Syria.

"The foreign minister received a letter from his American counterpart via the Iraqi foreign minister, in which he informed him that the United States and some of its allies would target (Islamic State) in Syria," the foreign ministry said in a statement. "That was hours before the raids started."

However, the US have been eager to deny any attempt to involve the Assad regime in its fight against ISIS. Speaking on Tuesday Jen Psaki, spokesperson of the US State Department, stated the US did not notify the Syrian regime in advance of the airstrikes on extremists, "We did not ask the regime for permission and we did not coordinate our action with the Syrian government. We did not notify the Syrians in advance and we did not give any sign on our timing to hit specific targets," she added.

In an effort to make clear that the US is not bowing down to Syrian warnings, Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, reiterated this statement on Tuesday, “We do not coordinate with the Assad regime,” he claimed, “Although we did inform their UN ambassador, There was no coordination.”

#US_Navy, #Syria, #ISIS
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