Extremists’ gains, brutality have US reassessing resistance to military action in Syria
WASHINGTON (AP) - A senior White House official raised the possibility Friday of a broader American military campaign that targets an Islamic extremist group’s bases in Syria, saying the U.S would take whatever action is necessary to protect national security.
“We’re not going to be restricted by borders,” said Ben Rhodes, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser.
The White House said the president has received no military options beyond those he authorized earlier this month for limited airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and military aid to Iraqi and Kurdish forces. Thus far, the United States has avoided military involvement in Syria’s three-year civil war. But faced with the Islamic State making gains across the region and the beheading of an American journalist, the administration’s resistance may be weakening.
Rhodes spoke a day after Obama’s top military adviser warned the extremists cannot be defeated without “addressing” their sanctuary in Syria.
Many prominent Republicans and some Democrats have called on Obama to hit back harder at the Islamic State militants.
Russia sends truck convoy into Ukraine; Kiev government calls it a ‘direct invasion’
LUHANSK, Ukraine (AP) - Tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated sharply on Friday as Moscow sent more than 130 trucks rolling across the border in what it said was a mission to deliver humanitarian aid. Ukraine called it a “direct invasion,” and the U.S. and NATO condemned it as well.
In another ominous turn in the crisis, NATO said it has mounting evidence that Russian troops are operating inside Ukraine and launching artillery attacks from Ukrainian soil - significantly deeper involvement in the fighting than the West has previously alleged.
The trucks, part of a convoy of 260 vehicles, entered Ukraine without government permission after being held up at the border for a week amid fears that the mission was a Kremlin ploy to help the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
By late afternoon, trucks had reached the city of Luhansk, whose war-reduced population of a quarter-million people has suffered under intense fighting over the past several weeks between Ukrainian forces and the separatists.
Russia said the white-tarped vehicles were carrying food, water, generators and sleeping bags.
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