Washington: US President Barack Obama has authorised surveillance flights over Syria in a move to gain intelligence on the activities of Islamic State (IS) Sunni militant group, BBC reported Tuesday.
He had approved over the weekend reconnaissance flights by unmanned and manned aircraft, officials here said.
The Bashar al-Assad-led Syrian government Monday said it would work with the international community in the fight against IS. Western governments have, however, so far rejected suggestions that they collaborate with the Assad government.
The US move could mark the first step towards US air strikes inside Syria, where the jihadist group controls vast swathes of territory.
Defence officials said the Pentagon was sending in manned and unmanned reconnaissance flights over Syria, using a combination of aircraft, including drones and possibly U2 spy planes, MENA reported.
The US did not intend to notify the Syrian government of the planned flights, government officials added.
Obama has repeatedly called for the ouster of Assad.