The United States and partner nations launched their first airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, as fighting raged Monday between the extremist group and Kurdish forces near the border with Turkey, triggering a surge of tens of thousands of refugees.
The Pentagon said a mix of fighter jets, bombers and Tomahawk missiles fired from ships in the region targeted the Islamic State group. Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said that because the military operation is ongoing, no details could be provided yet. He said the decision to strike was made early Monday by the military.
Spillover from the Syria poses a problem for Turkey. The only local fighters capable of resisting the Islamic State group are Syrian Kurds aligned with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has fought a three-decade insurgency in southeastern Turkey.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington now expects Turkey to step up in the fight against the militants.
The U.S. is looking for major participation from nations in the region in the campaign to destroy the Islamic State group. President Barack Obama has pledged that no American troops will be involved in combat missions against the group, and the U.S. expects nations in the region to provide those.