A report from the Associated Press claims Washington officials–and particularly Secretary of State John Kerry–alerted Syria of pending strikes before they began last night.
Syrian officials had warned that any surprise strikes on its soil had to “be coordinated with Damascus or else they would be considered an act of aggression against Syria and a breach of its sovereignty.”
According to the AP, Syria’s Foreign Ministry says Washington “told Damascus’ envoy to the United Nations of the pending [strikes] shortly before they began.” They also said Secretary Kerry “passed a message through Iraq’s foreign minister to Syria’s top diplomat,” alerting Damascus that strikes were imminent.
While the Syrian government clarified that they were notified of the strikes, some allies of President Bashar al-Assad nonetheless condemned the airstrikes. The government of Russia has expressed its displeasure with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, condemning the airstrikes as illegitimate. President Hassan Rouhani of Iran also condemned the strikes as “illegal.”
The strikes began on September 22 at 8:30 pm EST and were carried out by “the U.S., Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.” The strikes targeted training grounds, “command centers, storage facilities and vehicles” in Raqqa, as well as “Deir el-Zour, Abu Kamal, and Hasaka.”
The airstrikes also targeted an ISIS-controlled military airbase in Tabqa and targets on Syria’s border with Turkey.
On September 10, Obama cited U.S. tactics in Yemen and Somalia as a pattern for the campaign that will be conducted against ISIS. Such a campaign will be heavily focused on airstrikes, appealing to “moderate” groups to counter ISIS, and training local troops and fighters to defeat ISIS militarily.
On September 17 Breitbart News reported that Obama’s plan to train 5,000 Syrian rebels to fight ISIS will cost approximately $100,000 per rebel for one year.
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