BEIRUT (AP) — Syria says it's ready to help confront the rising threat from the Islamic State group. But Damascus is also warning the United States against carrying out airstrikes without its consent, saying any such attack would be considered an aggression.
Syria seems intent on capitalizing on the growing clamor among some U.S. officials, including military leaders, to expand the current American air campaign against the Islamic extremists in Iraq and to hit them in Syria as well.
President Barack Obama has long been wary of getting dragged into the bloody and complex Syrian civil war. The United Nations says more than 190,000 people have died in that conflict. Obama has resisted intervening militarily in the conflict, even after a deadly chemical weapons attack a year ago that Washington blamed on President Bashar Assad's government.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the president hasn't made a decision on whether to take military action inside Syria.
176-a-13-(Josh Earnest, White House press secretary, at news conference)-"to international boundaries"-White House press secretary Josh Earnest says if the Islamic State group poses a threat to the U.S. homeland, he won't hesitate to order strikes inside Syria. (25 Aug 2014)
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175-a-05-(Josh Earnest, White House press secretary, at news conference)-"action in Syria"-White House press secretary Josh Earnest says President Obama is still considering his options when it comes to attacking the Islamic State group and its bases in Syria. (25 Aug 2014)
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APPHOTO BEI102: In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem speaks during a press conference, giving the first public comments by a senior Assad official on the threat posed by the Islamic State group, in Damascus, Syria on Monday, August 25, 2014. Al-Moallem warned the U.S. not to conduct airstrikes inside Syria against the Islamic State group without Damascus' consent, saying any such attack would be considered an aggression. Al-Moallem also said that Syria is ready to work with regional states and the international community amid the onslaught of Islamic militants there and in Iraq, adding that the Syrian government is a crucial partner in the war on terror. (AP Photo/SANA) (25 Aug 2014)
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APPHOTO WHCD102: White House press secretary Josh Earnest gestures during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, where he took questions on ISIS, Iraq, and Syria. He also received congratulations for his newborn baby. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (25 Aug 2014)
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