Video shows U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria against targets linked to Islamic State fighters. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The United States and its Arab allies bombed Syria for the first time on Tuesday, killing scores of Islamic State fighters and members of a separate al Qaeda-linked group, opening a new front against militants by joining Syria's three-year-old civil war. In a remarkable sign of shifting Middle East alliances, the attacks encountered no objection - and even signs of tacit approval - from President Bashar al-Assad's Syrian government, which said Washington had notified it in advance. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates participated in or supported the strikes against Islamic State targets. All are countries hostile to Assad but now fearful of the fighters that have emerged out of the anti-Assad rebellion they backed. U.S. President Barack Obama said in a televised statement that the breadth of the coalition, including the five Arab states, showed the United States was not alone. The White House said some of the strikes had been conducted to disrupt an al Qaeda affiliate known as the Khorasan Group which it said had been plotting an imminent attack either in the United States or in Europe. Warplanes and ship-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles struck dozens of targets including fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command and control facilities, storage sites, a finance center, trucks and armed vehicles, CENTCOM said. Washington also said U.S. forces had acted alone to launch eight strikes in another area of Syria on the Khorasan Group, which U.S. officials have described in recent days as posing a threat similar to that from Islamic State. Video released by CENTCOM on Tuesday showed airstrikes against targets near Ar Raqqa and near Abu Kamel, Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria, said at least 70 Islamic State fighters were killed in strikes that hit at least 50 targets in the provinces of Raqqa, Deir al-Zor and Hasakah. It said at least 50 fighters and eight civilians were killed in strikes targeting al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, in northern Aleppo and Idlib provinces. The Observatory said most of the Nusra Front fighters killed were not Syrians. The air attacks fulfill Obama's pledge to strike in Syria against Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim group that has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq, slaughtering prisoners and ordering Shi'ites and non-Muslims to convert or die.