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Obama Says He’ll Continue Building Support for Coalition

By Nick Simeone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2014 – President Barack Obama said today that he will use the coming days to build additional support for a coalition to confront the "serious threat to our peace and security" posed by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists.

Obama’s brief address from the South Lawn of the White House came just hours after the U.S. military announced that American forces -- along with those from Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates -- had undertaken military action against ISIL in Syria, damaging or destroying multiple targets, including those at ISIL’s base in Raqqah.

'Not America's fight alone'

“The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone,” Obama said in televised remarks. “Above all, the people and governments of the Middle East are rejecting ISIL and standing up for the peace and security that the people of the region and the world deserve.”

Obama’s statement comes a month after U.S. airstrikes against ISIL targets began in neighboring Iraq, and it marks the start of the campaign by the United States and its allies to take the fight against the terrorist group to its stronghold in Syria. ISIL now holds wide swathes of territory in both countries.

“I made clear that as part of this campaign, the United States would take action against targets in both Iraq and Syria so that these terrorists can’t find safe haven anywhere,” Obama said today. Meanwhile, U.S. Central Command officials say U.S. airstrikes are continuing against ISIL targets in Iraq, with nearly 200 strikes having been carried out since they began last month.

In addition to attacking ISIL targets in Syria overnight, Obama and military officials say the United States -- separate from the actions carried out with its coalition allies -- struck a network of al-Qaida veterans in Syria known as the Khorasan group, attacks that Centcom officials said were intended to “disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests.”

'Will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists'

“Once again, it must be clear to anyone who would plot against America and try to do Americans harm that we will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people,” Obama said.

The president said he has received bipartisan support from leaders in Congress for the actions he has ordered, and that he will use his visit to the United Nations this week to continue building support for the coalition against ISIL. But he did sound a note of caution.

“The overall effort will take time,” he said. “There will be challenges ahead. But we’re going to do what’s necessary to take the fight to this terrorist group for the security of the country and the region and for the entire world.”

(Follow Nick Simeone on Twitter: @SimeoneDoDNews)

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Special Report: Targeted Operations Against ISIL Terrorists in Iraq
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