"President Barack Obama has authorized the use of air power to defend U.S.-trained Syrian rebels if they come under attack from terrorist groups or the Assad regime," writes Bloomberg , "deepening the U.S. role against Islamic State forces in Syria."
"While airstrikes remain limited to Islamic State targets for offensive operations, they can now be used to defend U.S. allies on the ground in Syria... The official discounted the risk of a U.S. confrontation with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, should he choose to attack any American-trained forces on the ground. The U.S.-trained rebels, who number about 60, have pledged to fight only Islamic State, not the Assad government, and Assad must focus on other threats to his regime."
"Obama, who has ruled out sending U.S. ground troops into combat in Syria or Iraq, is counting on defeating Islamic State fighters through local forces on the ground, bolstered by U.S. and allied airstrikes. The U.S. and allies have conducted more than 5,000 airstrikes over the past year in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State."