MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow is concerned by the possibility of US reconnaissance flights above the territory of Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday.
“Moscow is alarmed by the US decision to hold reconnaissance flights above the territory of Syria,” the ministry said.
‘We expect Washington to observe the norms of the international law while making its further steps concerning Syria. These norms explicitly state that if a state does not agree to a [foreign] military operation on its territory, it can be authorized only by the UN Security Council,” the statement reads.
On Tuesday, several media outlets reported citing unnamed US officials that US President Barack Obama approved surveillance flights over Syria. The flights are intended to collect intelligence on Islamic State (IS) militants and could be a precursor to US military strikes inside of Syria.
The White House said Monday it would not comment on Obama’s decision.
Early August, the United States authorized airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq, and on August 19, the group released a video, showing the beheading of US freelance journalist James Foley.
IS, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), is a jihadist group which was originally composed of a variety of Sunni insurgent groups and had close ties with al-Qaeda. IS militants have been fighting alongside the other rebel groups against the government forces in the Syrian civil war, before launching an offensive in Iraq in June 2014. Later that month, IS announced the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories that had fallen under its control.