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Spokesman: Airstrikes Only Part of the Strategy Against ISIL

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2014 – Airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists will not be enough to end the siege of the embattled Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, the Pentagon press secretary acknowledged today.

“Airstrikes alone are not going to do this,” Rear Adm. John Kirby said. “They’re not going to fix this. They’re not going to save the town of Kobani.” He spoke as battles between ISIL terrorists and Kurdish fighters were reported continuing in and around the town along the Syrian-Turkish border.

“We know that,” Kirby said. “We’ve been saying that over and over again. And yet we continue to get questions of, well, ‘why aren’t you doing more? And how come they aren’t more effective?’”

The admiral said the department has been very honest about the limits of airpower, pointing out that the key will be the training and equipping of indigenous ground forces.

“And we don’t have a willing, capable, effective partner on the ground inside Syria right now. It’s just a fact. I can’t change that.”

Months Before Rebels Are Trained 

Saudi Arabia has offered to host training for Syrian rebels who would return to the country to battle ISIL terrorists, but Kirby said it will take months before they are properly trained and equipped.

“Time matters here,” he said. While airstrikes are dramatic and have a tactical effect, “this is going to be a long, difficult struggle,” Kirby said.

Kirby emphasized that good governance will be key to the solution in both Iraq and Syria.

“And options for people so they don’t have to turn to the ideology of a group like ISIL, Kirby said.

“So there’s an element of strategic patience here that I think everybody needs to consider,” he said, “all of us, all of you, the American people, everybody.”

(Follow Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Marshall on Twitter:@MarshallDoDNews)


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