Official: Potential Syria Strikes Could Include Long-Range Bombers

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee Syria Hearing

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel attend the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Syria Hearing on Tuesday, September 3, 2013.

(CNN) — Aircraft including long-range bombers may be used in any eventual strike on Syria, but “that does not fundamentally change the parameters of the mission,” a U.S. official said Thursday.

The official said planners have had what he described as “incremental inquiries into what we might apply, due to how things have been developing on the ground,” but added that no final decision has been made on which assets to deploy and that a decision could still be a ways off.

“I wouldn’t get out ahead of anything here,” the official told CNN.

“You want to match the military effort to the target sets. Those target sets have changed, but they’re probably going to continue to change even more,” he said.

The official characterized the bombers only as options and pushed back on any notion of U.S. pilots flying over Syrian airspace.

“You can employ stand-off weapons from an aircraft, just as easily as from a ship or submarine. Aerial assets can be used from a distance,” he said.

The official was responding to a report from Jonathan Karl of ABC News, who is traveling with President Barack Obama in Russia, that said the U.S. attack plan for Syria could potentially include missiles fired from B-2 and B-52 bombers flying from the United States.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, has reported that the Pentagon was preparing to employ greater firepower to reach shifting military targets. The revised options under development include the use of Air Force bombers to supplement U.S. destroyers in the Mediterranean, the newspaper said.


From Chris Lawrence. The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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