SYDNEY - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday that he was considering a formal request from the United States for Australia to join air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State militant group.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is already involved in bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq, but its aerial role in Syria has so far been limited to refueling and intelligence gathering.
"While there are processes that we need to go through and there's no decision that should be made lightly here ... we will carefully consider that request," Abbott told reporters in Canberra.
"I want to make very clear that the consolidation of a terrorist state in eastern Syria and northern Iraq would be a catastrophe for the world."
RAAF planes have been bombing IS targets in Iraq since September.