Will It Take U.S. Airstrikes In Syria To Defeat ISIS?

Senior White House officials have suggested the U.S. was considering military involvement in Syria to combat extremist fighters from ISIS.

Will It Take U.S. Airstrikes In Syria To Defeat ISIS?
U.S. Air Force

​​As the U.S. continues its air strikes against ISIS militants in Iraq — new signs the administration could expand its military operations next door into Syria. (Video via U.S. Central Command

BEN RHODES, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: “We’re actively considering what’s going to be necessary to deal with that threat ... We’re not going to be restricted by borders.” (Video via CNN

MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS: “Can they be defeated without addressing that part of the organization that resides in Syria? The answer is no.” (Video via MSNBC

Although President Obama has long resisted calls to get involved in Syria’s now three-year-long war, comments like that from top U.S. officials suggest the administration is weighing its options there. (Video via The White House

That's because the Sunni extremists from the group ISIS — which now goes by the name the Islamic State — stage their operations and gets many of their recruits in Syria. (Via Channel 4

The execution of American journalist James Foley, combined with ISIS's stunning rise across Iraq, have upped the pressure on the U.S. to target the group's stronghold in neighboring Syria.

Question is, does a bombing campaign in Syria make sense right now? (Video via U.S. Central Command

Consider that in order for the U.S. to strike in Syria, it would have to coordinate to some level with the government of President Bashar al-Assad — who the administration wants out of office and hardly has a relationship with to begin with. (Video via Fox News

The Guardian makes another point. "A year ago, after the gas attack in Damascus, those who urged a bombing campaign in Syria wanted Assad to be the target, not the beneficiary. The irony is an uncomfortable one for policymakers."

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf recently hit back against suggestions the U.S. and Assad now share a common goal in defeating ISIS. “I would strongly disagree with the notion that we are on the same page here.”

Defeating ISIS — not just constraining it — would require a "massive American military escalation,” according to  one expert from The Eastern Project who spoke with Business Insider.

More likely, the U.S. will increase the weaponry and training it already provides to the moderate Syrian opposition, which is both anti-Assad and anti-ISIS. The Pentagon has already requested $500 million to fund these rebel fighters. (Video via RT

Critics, however, warn increased military involvement in Syria — no matter what shape it takes — carries the risk of more civilian casualties in an already war-torn country. (Video via UNICEF)

The U.N. reported Friday, the number of casualties in Syria’s civil war has reached 191,000 — a number that's double what it was a year ago. 

​This video includes images from Getty Images, / Nicole Tung