A report by The Telegraph indicates U.S. drones are flying over Raqqa, Syria, in search of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
According to the report, Raqqa residents “have captured photo and video footage of remotely-piloted planes, which Western weapons experts have identified as American Predators.”
One such drone was reportedly seen by numerous witnesses on September 5 and 6.
Royal United Services Institute associate fellow Aaron Stein said the photographs of the drone “indicate it was unarmed” and that it was being used to “[acquire] imagery–and possibly signals intelligence–of [ISIS] positions in the group’s most important stronghold.”
President Obama has made significant use of drones against terror targets in Pakistan and Yemen, so the use of drones against ISIS leadership figures would not be a significant shift in anti-terror strategy.
On September 8 Breitbart News reported Obama plans a three-phase attack against ISIS that begins with airstrikes–which are already happening–followed by training the Iraqi military, Kurdish fighters, and moderate Sunnis, and finally, destroying ISIS positions within Syria. Obama has long said a “more inclusive” Iraqi government is the key to U.S. action ISIS, and The Telegraph reports that such a government was approved by Iraq’s parliament on Monday.
Obama will give a speech to the American people on September 10 in which he is expected to outline and explain his plan against ISIS.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.