Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
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Syrian and Iranian officials criticized the Obama administration Thursday for excluding them from an international coalition coming together in the battle against ISIS, while a state-run Syrian daily warned that unauthorized U.S. airstrikes on Syrian territory may trigger the "first sparks of fire" in the region.Syria's main Western-backed opposition group, meanwhile, welcomed President Barack Obama's authorization of U.S. airstrikes targeting -- for the first time -- the extremists inside Syria, saying it stands "ready and willing" to partner with the international community to defeat the militants.The U.S. began launching limited airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq earlier this summer at the request of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, in a significant boost to the Iraqi forces fighting on the ground to win back land lost to the militant group.In a prime-time address to the nation from the White House late Wednesday, Obama announced he was authorizing U.S. airstrikes inside Syria for the first time, along with expanded strikes in Iraq as part of "a steady, relentless effort" to root out ISIS extremists and their spreading reign of terror.He also again urged Congress to authorize a program to train and arm Syrian rebels who are fighting both the ISIS militants and Syrian President Bashar Assad.Obama did not say when U.S. forces would begin striking at targets inside Syria.
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