More aggressive US strikes in Somalia said to risk civilians
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Experts say President Donald Trump's approval of greater U.S. military authority to pursue al-Qaida-linked extremists in Somalia will put civilians at further risk, especially as drought displaces thousands of people in areas that now will be considered a war zone.
Trump has approved a Pentagon request to allow more aggressive airstrikes against al-Shabab as parts of southern Somalia will be considered areas of active hostilities.
U.S. special operations forces can move closer to the fight and call in offensive airstrikes more quickly. American forces also can increase assistance to the Somali National Army.
Human Rights Watch says some in long-chaotic Somalia could use these developments to spread misinformation and that the U.S. must use "utmost caution" before deciding to strike.
Somalia's government has not yet commented on Trump's decision.