President Barack Obama on Wednesday ordered U.S. forces to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra.
The move comes as Obama seeks to show his administration is not only taking action to counter the terrorist group but is also fighting it.
Obama, who visited an ISIS-linked Syrian town in May, also said that the U.K.-based terror group has been “extremist for years,” and that it will “come back stronger.”
The president’s announcement follows a U.N. Security Council vote on Wednesday to authorize airstrikes in Syria to target ISIS.
On Thursday, a senior State Department official told The Associated Press that Obama has directed his top counterterrorism officials to “ensure that U.L.A. does not fall into the trap of using this moment to try to legitimize a campaign that would not be effective in fighting terrorism.”
Obama also ordered a number of counterterrorism raids across the U!
K., where officials say a large number of suspects have been arrested.
“We will not be able to defeat ISIL militarily or diplomatically.
We will not win this war without defeating it,” Obama said.
In a statement, the White House said Obama “recognizes the need to defeat ISIS militarily, diplomatically and legally” and that “we are focused on defeating it diplomatically.”
U.S.-led coalition airstrikes have also targeted ISIS fighters in Syria, killing at least 150 militants and destroying several vehicles in an operation that began on May 3, the U…