US denies sharing intelligence with Assad as Syrian jets hunting ISIL terrorists

US denies sharing intelligence with Assad as Syrian jets hunting ISIL terrorists
Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:09:26

Washington has denied that it was sharing intelligence with Damascus in a bid to confront the Al-Qaeda splinter group ISIL, as US aircraft reportedly began reconnaissance flights over Syria.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said “the claims in that story are false,” referring to an AFP article that said the US was relaying intelligence about the deployments of terrorists to the Syrian government via Baghdad and Moscow.

In Syria, army warplanes targeted an ISIL training camp in rural Deir al-Zor province, killing and wounding an unknown number of jihadists, according to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-regime group based in Britain. The Observatory said another warplane strike, also in Deir al-Zor province and targeting an ISIL headquarters, killed seven civilians.

The Observatory added that the strike against the training camp came two days after an unknown reconnaissance plane was sighted over the area, and as ISIL was making preparations to storm the Deir al-Zor military airport outside the provincial capital, after having seized several military outposts in Syria’s eastern regions in recent weeks.

“It’s the first time since ISIL took control of most of Deir al-Zor that warplanes have carried out such intensive and pinpoint raids against ISIL positions in the region,” Observatory director Rami Abdel-Rahman said, noting that a dozen raids targeted locations in Deir al-Zor and next-door Raqqa province, the group’s stronghold.

The US officials said Monday it was ready to send spy planes into Syria to track the group’s fighters but the moves would not be coordinated with the government in Damascus. White House spokesman Josh Earnest Tuesday reiterated that line, dismissing his government’s offer of a joint effort to combat “terrorism.”

For his part, President Barack Obama vowed to go after the ISIL killers of American journalist James Foley, whose execution was made public last week, and said rooting out the militant group in Iraq and Syria would not be easy.

“America does not forget, our reach is long, we are patient, justice will be done,” Obama told veterans gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Obama, who ordered airstrikes against the militant group in Iraq, said he would do whatever is necessary to go after those who harm Americans. “Rooting out a cancer like [ISIL] won’t be easy and it won’t be quick,” he said.


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