US President Barack Obama has announced that the US-led coalition was “intensifying” its efforts against the Islamic State in Syria but cautioned that it will be a “long-term” campaign and it will take time to root out the terror group.
“This will not be quick. This is a long-term campaign,” Obama told reporters at the Pentagon after his meeting with the national security team on the challenges being posedu00a0by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State, in the Middle east.
“ISIL is opportunistic and it is nimble. In many places in Syria and Iraq, including urban areas, it’s dug in among innocent civilian populations. It will take time to root them out — and doing so must be the job of local forces on the ground, with training and air support from our coalition,” he said.
Obama cautioned that as is the case with any military effort, “there will be periods of progress, but there are also going to be some setbacks — as we’ve seen with ISIL’s gains in Ramadi in Iraq and central and southern Syria. But today, it’s also important for us to recognise the progress that’s been made.”
Obama acknowledged that ISIL has been particularly effective at reaching out to and recruiting vulnerable people around the world, including here in the United States.
“And they are targeting Muslim communities around the world. Numerous individuals have been arrested across the country for plotting attacks or attempting to join ISIL in Syria and Iraq,” he said.
Obama said ISIL’s recent losses in both Syria and Iraq prove that ISIL can and will be defeated.
“Indeed, we’re intensifying our efforts against ISIL’s base in Syria. Our airstrikes will continue to target the oil and gas facilities that fund so much of their operations,” he said.
“We’re going after the ISIL leadership and infrastructure in Syria, the heart of ISIL that pumps funds and propaganda to people around the world. Partnering with other countries, sharing more information, strengthening laws and border security allows us to work to stem the flow of foreign fighters to Syria as well as Iraq and to stem, obviously, the flow of those fighters back into our own countries,” he added.