The administration is seeking congressional approval to launch airstrikes in support of President Bashar al-Assad, an administration official told reporters Thursday.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified information.
The president’s spokesman declined to comment.
A senior administration official familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of privacy, said Obama has asked for permission to use military force in Syria to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) and other militant groups.
The Obama administration is considering launching air strikes in Syria on behalf of Assad to help counter ISIL, which is advancing toward its goal of taking control of the city of Raqqa in eastern Syria.
The officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity, said the White House is reviewing its options and will decide when to take action.
The administration’s decision on air strikes will be guided by a range of factors, including the threat posed by the group to the United States, the administration official said.
The White House has also asked Congress for permission for U.S. troops to enter Syria to train the local forces, including Kurdish fighters, who are battling ISIL in northern Syria.
On Thursday, the Pentagon said it had approved the use of unmanned aircraft to deliver lethal munitions to Syrian forces to help defeat ISIL.
The Pentagon also said it has authorized the U.N. and Arab League to assist in the air campaign.
The U.K. and other Western countries are also pushing for the United Nations to take the lead in supporting the campaign.
On Wednesday, a U.G. group released a report that concluded that a U-turn by the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf Arab states could have triggered a catastrophic humanitarian catastrophe in the country.
The report said the U-dashes could have killed as many as 30,000 people, according to the Umm al-Hiran news agency.
The Gulf Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Emirates, signed an accord in June 2016 pledging to help Syrian President Bashar Assad defeat ISIL and other armed groups.
The U.A.E. and Gulf Arab governments also have criticized Russia for its role in the conflict.
U.S.-led coalition forces in Syria began their military operation against ISIL in September 2015, but Russia has maintained that it was not involved in the Syrian conflict.
Russia has said it was supporting Syrian rebels, not ISIL, and has backed the U