DAMASCUS (AFP) – The Damascus government said it had been informed by Washington of the air strikes it began early Tuesday on Islamic State group (IS) targets on Syrian soil.
“Yesterday (Monday), the Americans informed the Syrian representative at the United Nations (UN) that strikes would be carried out against the terrorist IS organisation in Raqa,” the group’s Syrian stronghold, a foreign ministry statement quoted by state television said.
The television reported multiple strikes on Raqa province, in the Euphrates Valley northeast of the capital.
“US warplanes have started carrying out air strikes against positions of the terrorist Daesh organisation in Raqa,” it said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.
It was the first that Washington had launched air strikes against the extremists in Syria. It began an air war against IS in Iraq on August 8.
US media reported that five Arab allies had joined in the strikes – Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The Pentagon did not immediately confirm where the strikes took place, but activists reported some 20 strikes against IS targets in Raqa province.
Raqa is the extremists’ main bastion in Syria but they also control most of Deir Ezzor province further east, as well as sections of Aleppo in the north and Hasakeh in the northeast.