September 23, 2014 – Islamic State militants operating in Syria had it hot early this morning as combined forces led by the US forces struck at least 20 targets in Raqqa, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said.
Those taking part in the airstrikes are all Arab countries including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Jordan. France has already carried out air strikes in Iraq hitting two targets September 19.
Qatar may also be involved in the airstrikes, sources told CNN. Prior to the airstrikes, President Barack Obama of US said his strategy would degrade and ultimately destroy the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL).
“So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy,” he said.
He said the strikes will include an expansion of American airstrikes on ISIS targets in both Iraq and in Syria, combined with an effort to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces in Iraq as well as moderate opposition forces in Syria.
The strike is also targeted at providing support for ground forces, he said. The president also stressed his strategy to fight ISIS would be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil,” Obama said.
“Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid,” Obama said, adding that as Commander-in-Chief, his highest priority is the security of the American people.
“Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country. We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia. We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year. Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer”, he said.