The US has begun surveillance flights over Syria after President Barack Obama gave the OK, a move that could pave the way for airstrikes against ISIL targets there, US officials say.
While the White House says Obama has not approved military action inside Syria, additional intelligence on the militants would likely be necessary before he could take that step. Pentagon officials have been drafting potential options for the president, including airstrikes, Al-Alam news agency reported.
One official said the administration has a need for reliable intelligence from Syria and called the surveillance flights an important avenue for obtaining data.
Two US officials said Monday that Obama had approved the flights, while another US official said early Tuesday that they had begun. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter by name, and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
The US began launching strikes against the ISIL terrorist group inside Iraq earlier this month, with Obama citing the threat to American personnel in the country and a humanitarian crisis in the north as his rationale.