Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks in Edgartown, Mass. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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At the heart of President Barack Obama's quandary over the Islamic State militants is their haven in Syria.The president may continue helping Iraqi forces try to reverse the group's land grabs in northern Iraq by providing more arms and American military advisers and by using U.S. warplanes to support Iraqi ground operations. On Friday the Pentagon announced that U.S. warplanes made three more airstrikes against Islamic State targets near the Mosul Dam, including a machine gun position that was firing on Iraqi forces.On the other hand, Obama has been leery of getting drawn into the Syrian civil war, which began in 2011 .-Extending the Iraq air campaign to Islamic State targets in Syria.The U.S. has warplanes available in the Middle East and Europe that could vastly increase the number and intensity of strikes in eastern Syria if Obama chose.This is hardly the first time Obama has faced options for military action in Syria.The White House on Wednesday disclosed that Obama authorized a covert mission this summer to rescue American hostages in Syria, including journalist James Foley.
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