The United States issued a warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad, if you try and shoot down our planes we will bomb your air defenses and command and control center.
Administration officials told FOX News that the U.S. has a good sense of where the Syrian air defenses and command and control centers are located. “If Assas were to use those capabilities to threaten U.S. forces, it would put his air defenses at risk” a senior official told FOX News.
President Obama has authorized U.S. airstrikes inside Syria as part of a broad campaign to root out the Islamic State militant group, though no strikes have yet been launched in the country.
Asked Monday about the prospect of striking Assad’s regime if his forces were to target Americans, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said there will be “rules of engagement that are related to any military orders the president directs.”
“It won’t surprise you to know that there are contingencies related to self-defense when it comes to these sorts of rules of engagement,” he said.
The mere discussion of launching strikes in Syria has highlighted the complexity of taking U.S. military action inside a country locked in an intractable civil war. The conflict has created odd alliances, with both the U.S. and the Assad regime now fighting the Islamic State militant group.
However, U.S. officials have ruled out direct coordination with Assad and insist that a campaign against the Islamic State will not strengthen the Syrian dictator’s hold on power. Obama is seeking congressional authorization to train and arm Western-backed rebels in the country in hopes they can both fight the Islamic State and eventually the Assad regime.
Officials told The Associated Press that Obama has been making phone calls in recent days to lawmakers in both parties pressing for them to authorize the train-and-equip mission before lawmakers leave town Friday for an almost two-month recess in preparation for November’s midterm elections.