Less than a year after President Obama made the case for striking Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria, the US now appears poised for strikes on one of the regime's opponents. Obama authorized manned and unmanned surveillance flights over Syria over the weekend to gather intelligence on ISIS militants, the New York Times reports, and officials tell the AP that the flights have already begun. The flights—which come after the Pentagon warned that containing ISIS would require strikes on Syria—are about "gaining situational awareness with respect to possible airstrikes in Syria," an administration official tells the Los Angeles Times.
Attacking the Assad regime's enemy will put the US in a tricky spot: The White House says it will not cooperate with the Assad regime or inform it of any strikes on the militants, while Syria's foreign minister says the regime is ready "to cooperate and coordinate all the efforts, whether regional or international, to combat terrorism"—but warns that any strikes without its consent would be considered aggression. Commanders in the Free Syrian Army, meanwhile, which has received support from the US and is fighting both ISIS and the Assad regime, "have declared their readiness to coordinate with the US in striking ISIS," a rebel spokesman tells the New York Times.