MILITARY

Before going after Islamic State targets in Syria, US expected to ramp up airstrikes in Iraq

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hand with Turkey's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu upon his arrival at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Kerry is in the region to speak with leaders about strategies to address the threat from the Islamic State, a militant extremist group. John Kerry said that the US would provide an additional $500 million in humanitarian aid to victims of the war in Syria, bringing total American assistance to $2.9 billion since the start of the conflict in 2011. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

    US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hand with Turkey's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu upon his arrival at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Kerry is in the region to speak with leaders about strategies to address the threat from the Islamic State, a militant extremist group. John Kerry said that the US would provide an additional $500 million in humanitarian aid to victims of the war in Syria, bringing total American assistance to $2.9 billion since the start of the conflict in 2011. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Graphic shows possible coalition support in the fight against the Islamic State and UPDATES with news that Turkey hasn’t officially committed; 4c x 4 1/2 inches; 195.7 mm x 114 mm;

    Graphic shows possible coalition support in the fight against the Islamic State and UPDATES with news that Turkey hasn’t officially committed; 4c x 4 1/2 inches; 195.7 mm x 114 mm;  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Sept. 11, 2014, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boehner is telling Iraq’s prime minister that the House will ensure that the new government has all the U.S. support that it needs to combat Islamic militants. Boehner made the comments in a letter to Haider al-Abadi on Friday. In an unusual move, the prime minister wrote to the speaker two days ago. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    In this photo taken Sept. 11, 2014, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boehner is telling Iraq’s prime minister that the House will ensure that the new government has all the U.S. support that it needs to combat Islamic militants. Boehner made the comments in a letter to Haider al-Abadi on Friday. In an unusual move, the prime minister wrote to the speaker two days ago. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)  (The Associated Press)

As U.S. forces gear up for airstrikes in Syria, the first demonstration of President Barak Obama's more aggressive military campaign against the Islamic State group is likely to unfold as early as next week — in Iraq.

Planes and drones will be conducting intelligence-gathering flights over Syria for future airstrikes. But meanwhile, more targets are expected to come under attack over a wider area of Iraq. Those could include strikes against Islamic State leaders, officials said Friday.

The Pentagon's press secretary, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, said that with Obama's new authorization, the air campaign in Iraq will soon switch from a mainly defensive approach to an offensive mode.

Kirby also said the Pentagon foresees training more than 5,000 Syrian rebels at bases in Saudi Arabia over the coming year.