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Obama on Defeating ISIL


U.S.-backed forces celebrate re-taking Sirte, Libya from the Islamic State group Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016.

The military portion of the counter-ISIL strategy is showing great progress, President Obama said.

After a recent meeting at the Department of Defense with his National Security Council, President Barack Obama said that ISIL leaders know they will lose in Syria and Iraq. With support from the Counter ISIL Coalition, local forces have made significant progress against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. They have taken key territory from ISIL and continue to advance in their planning and on the battlefield toward Mosul. In Syria, said the President, they are choking off the last entry to the ISIL stronghold of Raqqa.

The military portion of the counter-ISIL strategy is showing great progress, President Obama said. The coalition air campaign continues to hit ISIL targets wherever the terrorists try to hide. American pilots are doing their best to avoid civilian casualties, in stark contrast to ISIL, which uses noncombatants as shields.

Coalition and local forces continue to take out senior ISIL leaders and commanders and this is having an effect on the organization’s command and control and its discipline. “None of ISIL’s leaders are safe, and we are going to keep going after them,” said President Obama.

The terror group continues to lose ground in Iraq and Syria. Iraqi forces have taken Fallujah and are pushing up the Euphrates River valley. They are also pushing up the Tigris River, taking Qayyarah, and are preparing to launch an offensive against Mosul – the largest city still under ISIL control.

“Meanwhile in Syria,” Obama said, “a coalition of local forces backed by our special operations forces and airstrikes continues to take the fight to ISIL as well. The coalition is fighting its way into the town of Manbij, a gateway for ISIL fighters coming in and terrorists heading out to attack Europe, which is why ISIL was fighting hard to hold it.”

“ISIL has not had a major successful offensive operation in either Syria or Iraq in a full year,” said President Obama. “Even ISIL’s leaders know they're going to keep losing. In their message to followers, they're increasingly acknowledging that they may lose Mosul and Raqqa, and ISIL is right,” he continued. “They will lose them. And we’ll keep hitting them and pushing them back and driving them out until they do.”

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