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US airstrikes begin in Syria

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(ISIS stock photo)

RAQQA, Syria — U.S. jets began airstrikes in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, early Tuesday, the first strikes against the terror group inside the country since President Barack Obama’s announcement this month that he was prepared to expand the American efforts beyond targets in Iraq.

The U.S. and “partner nation forces” began striking ISIS targets using fighters, bombers and Tomahawk missiles, Pentagon spokesman Read Adm. John Kirby said via Twitter.

With the airstrikes, the United States enters a new level of engagement in the ongoing Syrian civil war. Obama had resisted U.S. military action in Syria, but as the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq made sweeping advances in both Middle Eastern neighbors, calls for such a step grew.

“I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are,” Obama said in a September 10 speech. “That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”