Obama on IS in Syria: ‘we don’t have a strategy yet’
US President Barack Obama. [AFP]
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US President Barack Obama says Washington does not have “a strategy yet” to tackle the ISILgroup, which is operating in Iraq and Syria.
Obama made the remarks on Thursday during a news conference in the White House in Washington.
“My priority at this point is to make sure that the gains that ISIL made in Iraq are rolled back and that Iraq has the opportunity to govern itself effectively and secure itself,” the US president said.
ISIL controls large parts of Syria's northern territory. The group sent its fighters into neighboring Iraq in June, quickly seizing large swaths of territory straddling the border between the two countries.
The US military has begun planning for airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria after last week’s beheading of American journalist James Foley. The US has launched a limited air campaign against the terrorist group in Iraq since August 8.
Obama pledged to consult members of Congress on the strategy, “in part because it may cost some money,” and lawmakers approve funds for such projects. But he refused to commit to securing a vote the approval of an expanded military action in either Iraq or Syria.
"I do think that it’ll be important for Congress to weigh in,” he said. “But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet.”
In an interview with Press TV on Wednesday, Don DeBar, an anti-war activist and radio host in New York, said there are hundreds of US troops working with the ISIL in Iraq and Syria.
DeBar said the ISIL “group is a construct of the US military intelligence. This is a terrorist cell that was organized by the US in order to destabilize Syria and perhaps other countries.”
“My belief is that there are Americans that are a part of ISIL/ISIS with the knowledge of the US government and an assignment by the US government,” he added.
DeBar stated that there are perhaps 300 Americans fighting with ISIL “and then hundreds more US regulars, with CIA or whatever military formation they have, under the direction of US intelligence, that are a part of this. It doesn’t require that they are American nationals, of course, just that their paycheck is signed in Washington or Langley.”
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