(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
By Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian
- US and allies have deployed jets and missiles against militants
- Isis stronghold of Raqqa is among targets, says US official
- ‘Dozens’ of fighters are killed, says monitoring group
- Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Jordan involved
The United States stepped up its war against the Islamic State militant group, launching air strikes on targets in Syria for the first time.
The Pentagon press secretary, rear admiral John Kirby, confirmed that the US and allied nations sent fighter jets, bomber aircraft and Tomahawk missiles in an operation against Isis that he described as “ongoing”.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, indicated that Raqqa, a Syrian stronghold of Isis, was among the targets of the operation, which began in the early hours of Tuesday morning local time.
The first wave of strikes finished about 90 minutes later at around 10pm EDT (2am GMT), but the operation was expected to continue for several more hours. [..]
The US was joined in the Syria operation by Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, an official said.
The strikes were carried out by manned air force and navy aircraft, while the Tomahawk missiles were launched from US ships in the northern Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. The aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush is in the Gulf.
Kirby said the strikes were ordered by army general Lloyd Austin, the commander of US forces in the Middle East and South Asia “under authorisation granted to him by the commander in chief”. [..]
Syria’s foreign ministry says the US informed Damascus’ envoy to the United Nations before launching the raids.
As Doc Maddow would say, “watch this space.”
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, host of “The Last Word.” spoke with several MSNBC contributors and observors.