US gave Syria no advance warning of air strikes

US gave Syria no advance warning of air strikes
Fighters from the Islamic State group gesture as they load a van with parts that they said was a US drone that crashed into a communications tower in Raqqa early on September 23, 2014.

NEW YORK - The United States did not give the Syrian regime any advance warning of the air strikes launched against Islamic militants early Tuesday, a senior US official said.

"We did not request the regime's permission. We did not coordinate our actions with the Syrian government," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

"We did not provide advance notification to the Syrians at a military level, or give any indication of our timing on specific targets. Secretary Kerry did not send a letter to the Syrian regime." However, after President Barack Obama's speech earlier this month setting out his plan to target militants from the Islamic State group in both Iraq and Syria, Washington had told Syria's envoy to the UN that the jidhadists would be targeted.

"We informed the Syrian regime directly of our intent to take action through our ambassador to the United Nations (Ambassador Samantha Power) to the Syrian Permanent Representative to the United Nations," Psaki said.

"We warned Syria not to engage US aircraft."

The Syrian foreign ministry said in a statement that it backed "any international effort" to combat jihadists including from IS and the Al-Nusra front.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has long contended that all the rebels fighting his regime, including the US-backed moderate opposition, are "terrorists."

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