– Syria conflict: Obama approves US surveillance flights (BBC News, Aug 26, 2014):
US President Barack Obama has authorised surveillance flights over Syria in order to gain intelligence on the activities of Islamic State (IS).
Correspondents say the move could mark the first step towards US air strikes inside Syria, where the jihadist group controls vast swathes of territory.
The US is already carrying out strikes against IS in neighbouring Iraq.
On Monday, the Syrian government said it would work with the international community in the fight against IS.
Western governments have so far rejected suggestions that they collaborate with President Bashar al-Assad in an attempt to counter the growing regional threat posed by IS.
They have repeatedly called on Mr Assad to step down since the beginning of the three-and-a-half year uprising against his rule, in which more than 191,000 people are believed to have been killed.
On Monday evening, US officials said Mr Obama had approved over the weekend reconnaissance flights by unmanned and manned aircraft, including drones and possibly U2 spy planes.