U.S. and allied forces launched airstrikes against Islamist militants in Syria for the first time late Monday, the Pentagon confirmed.
The strikes, which were carried out early this morning, were aimed at key targets of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), including its base of operations in Raqqa, Syria, as well as a secretive al-Qaeda offshoot known as the Khorasan Group.
The Pentagon said the U.S. and its allies used a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles.
President Barack Obama authorized the military to begin a broad-based aerial campaign against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria earlier this month, and is working to assemble a global coalition to combat the group, which has seized vast swaths of Iraqi and Syrian territory.
In a victory for Obama’s efforts to demonstrate regional support for the anti-ISIS effort, the U.S. was accompanied by five Arab nations in the strikes, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Those nations all participated in, or supported, the strikes.
Speaking from the White House South Lawn this morning, Obama thanked the American allies for their support. “The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone,” he said in a brief statement. Obama highlighted both the strikes against ISIS and Khorosan, saying “we will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people.”
“The strikes destroyed or damaged multiple ISIL targets in the vicinity of Ar Raqqah, Dayr az Zawr, Al Hasakah, and Abu Kamal and included ISIL fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command and control facilities, storage facilities, a finance center, supply trucks and armed vehicles,” CENTCOM said Today.
The strikes began the night before Obama was set to travel to New York City for a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. A White House official said Obama was updated on the operation as it proceeded.