Two U.S. officials said Monday that Obama had approved the flights, while another U.S. 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.
Just yesterday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said that combatting ISIL should happen “not through transgression against countries’ sovereignty.” In other words, any American bombing in Syria would be an act of war. This brushback pitch came despite the fact that ISIL continues to make significant gains against the Assad regime in Syria, including the recent capture of a major air base.
Also on Monday, as we noted earlier, White House spokesman Josh Earnest repeatedly punted on questions about whether the United States would conduct airstrikes against ISIL in Syria or seek congressional approval to do so. Given that Congress rejected such a request last year, this already seems like a pretty daunting task.
Getting Congress to grant even limited authorization of an expanded airstrike program in Syria weeks before an election? Not easy— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) August 25, 2014
But here we are. And as the president's surrogates continue to explain, America will not "restrict ourselves by geographic boundaries" when it comes to battling those who are "plotting against the United States."