Obama To Address Airstrikes Against Islamic State -White House official

A White House official, speaking on background, said Obama will address the latest strategy to counter Islamic State in Syria.



U.S. President Barack Obama will make a statement on Tuesday following airstrikes for the first time against the militant group in Syria, according to the White House.

Obama will speak at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) before departing the White House for New York City to attend the U.N. climate meeting, the White House said in an emailed statement.

A White House official, speaking on background, said Obama will address the latest strategy to counter Islamic State in Syria. U.S. officials on Tuesday said the United States will continue persistent strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria, and other representatives for the Pentagon and the State Department said the United States did not coordinate its actions with the Syrian government.

More details on the operation are expected when the U.S. Department of Defense’s joint staff director of operations holds a news briefing on the operations in Syria at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT).

The United States and Arab allies began bombing in Syria for the first time on Tuesday, pursuing a campaign against militants in a war at the heart of the Middle East. The United States has been bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq for weeks. Islamic State vowed revenge for the attacks in Syria.

U.S. officials have said there were more than 20 strikes targeting Islamic State as well as Khorasan, an al Qaeda-linked group.

“We’re still assessing the effectiveness of these strike, but we believe we hit what we were aiming at,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, said in an interview on MSNBC on Tuesday, ahead of Obama’s statement.

The strikes took aim at the groups’ ability to command their forces, by targeting vehicles, depots and headquarter buildings to affect their ability to resupply and train fighters, he said.

He also echoed earlier statements by the U.S. military, saying the United States, which conducted eight of the strikes against the al Qaeda affiliate and without Arab partners, had “good information that this group was in the final stages of planning an attack – an imminent attack – even against targets in Europe or the U.S. homeland.”

Kirby and U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States had notified the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad about the intent to take action but that there had been no resistance or other interaction.

“We warned Syria not to engage U.S. aircraft. We did not request the regime’s permission,” Psaki said in a statement.