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Spy flights over Syria begin

Spy flights over Syria begin

ISLAMIC STATE: Militant Islamist fighters take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province on June 30. Photo: Reuters

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S. has begun surveillance flights over Syria.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey says the U.S. has a “more refined picture” of militants from the group Islamic State in Iraq, but it wants more clarity on the group’s operations in Syria.

The surveillance flights could pave the way for airstrikes against militants in Syria.

Dempsey says he thinks meetings with allies in the region are beginning to “set the conditions for some kind of coalition to form” in opposition to the Islamic State group which holds large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

The intelligence would be needed if President Barack Obama were to approve military action, such as air strikes, against Islamic State group targets. The White House says Obama has not approved military action inside Syria, but one official calls the surveillance flights an important avenue for obtaining data.

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