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(CNSNews.com) – “What's the legal justification for targeting Syrian government forces?” a reporter asked Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford on Monday.
“Yeah, we -- we are there and have legal justification and the authorization of use of military force,” Dunford responded. “We are prosecuting a campaign against ISIS and Al Qaida in Syria.”
Time - US - Fighter - Plane - Sunday
For the first time, a U.S. fighter plane on Sunday shot down a Syrian aircraft, after the Assad regime’s Su-22 dropped bombs close to U.S.-backed rebels operating near the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.
In retaliation, Syria’s ally Russia said it was shutting down a deconfliction channel it established with the United States to avoid the accidental targeting of each other’s planes and troops in Syria. Russia’s defense ministry also said Russia would shoot down any coalition aircraft, including drones, flying over Syria.
United - States - Iraqi - Troops - ISIS
The United States military is helping Iraqi troops fight ISIS in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government. But no such invitation has been issued by Syria, a sovereign nation that is working with Russia and Iran to defend the Assad regime.
Dunford told a gathering at the National Press Club on Monday that the U.S. is still relying on a 2001 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) issued after 9/11 and modified in 2002.
Authority - Al - Qaida - ISIS - Groups
“What I have said is that we have all the legal authority that we need right now to prosecute Al Qaida, ISIS, other affiliated groups,” Dunford said. “But my recommendation to the Congress was that they pass an authorization of use of military force.
“And I thought one of the more important things is that our men and women that are in harm's way would see a clear and unmistakable support from the American people through their Congress. That -- that's what I believe, right now, would be -- would be very positive...
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