A Syrian minister said U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria are going in the “right direction” Wednesday. Ali Haidar, Syria’s minister for national reconciliation, also confirmed to Reuters that the U.S. notified the Syrian government of the airstrikes.
The U.S. began airstrikes within Syrian territory Monday night with the cooperation of five Arab allies. While contact was made between the U.S. and Syria, the U.S. refused to work directly with the Syrian government to strike Islamic State group targets. Syria however is willing to work with an international effort to fight the Islamic State group, Haidar said.
“As for the raids in Syria, I say that what has happened so far is proceeding in the right direction in terms of informing the Syrian government and by not targeting Syrian military installations and not targeting civilians,” Haidar said.
Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, directly told the Syrian permanent U.N. representative of the Obama administration's intent to take action in Syria, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday. "We did not request the regime’s permission," Psaki said in a statement. "We did not coordinate our actions with the Syrian government. We did not provide advance notification to the Syrians at a military level, or give any indication of our timing on specific targets."
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned the strikes Tuesday as illegal, arguing that they were not approved by the Syrian government. The U.S. notified Iran of the strikes, and the latter expressed concern that the U.S. would try to hit Syrian government positions as well as Islamic State positions. Russian President Vladimir Putin also said that airstrikes should not occur without consent of the Syrian government.
Obama sought to defend the airstrikes in his address to the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday morning, saying that the Islamic State group must be “degraded, and ultimately destroyed.” The U.S. has reportedly also targeted Al-Nusrah, the al Qaeda wing in Syria.