M A I N   N E W S

special to the tribune
Obama vows to ‘destroy’ IS; mulls strikes in Syria
Ashish Kumar Sen in Washington DC

The US will lead an international coalition to "degrade, and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State (IS) through a campaign of airstrikes, including in Syria, US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday.

Obama used a primetime address from the White House to lay out plans for a sustained counter-terrorism strategy similar to the one the US has pursued for years against terrorists in Somalia and Yemen. He warned the American people that the effort to eradicate a "cancer like IS" will take time.

"This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out the IS wherever they exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground," Obama said in an address from the White House on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the US.

The US has already conducted more than 150 airstrikes against IS inside Iraq and the President said he would not hesitate to strike IS inside Syria, where a civil war has raged for the past three-and-a-half years.

Obama also urged the US Congress to give his administration additional authorities and resources to train and arm moderate Syrian opposition groups to fight the IS inside Syria.

Obama, who was elected on the promise of ending US involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, pulled all US troops out of Iraq in 2011. Now he is being forced to intervene in Iraq where IS militants recently beheaded two US journalists — James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

Obama outlined a four-pronged strategy against the IS — expanding the military operation beyond protecting US interests and carrying out humanitarian missions; increasing US support to opposition forces fighting IS on the ground; redoubling efforts to cut off IS funding, improving intelligence and strengthening US defenses; and continuing to provide humanitarian assistance.

Obama said the IS did not represent Islam and a vast majority of its victims were Muslim. "The IS is a terrorist organisation, pure and simple," he said.





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