WASHINGTON: The United States said Tuesday that it does not intend to coordinate with the government of President Bashar Assad on targeting Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) militants on Syrian territory.
"There are no plans to coordinate with the Assad regime as we consider this terror threat," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, after Syrian officials demanded Washington ask permission for any action over its territory.
Earnest spoke amid reports that U.S. spy planes and drones had already started flights over Syria to collect intelligence as President Barack Obama contemplates airstrikes against ISIS militants who have already come under U.S. attack in Iraq.
Earnest dismissed Syrian demands that it be notified of any U.S. activity and offers to work with Washington to combat terrorism, saying that the United States did not even recognize the Assad regime as the legitimate rulers of Syria.
For more than two weeks, U.S. warplanes have been carrying out a limited air campaign against ISIS militants in Iraq, with most of the bombing raids conducted near Mosul dam.
The grisly murder of American journalist James Foley by ISIS jihadists and mounting concern in the West over the threat posed by the extremists has prompted speculation that Washington may expand its air war to Syria.
Earnest reiterated Tuesday that Obama had so far taken no decision to conduct airstrikes in Syria.