President Obama outlined Wednesday his administration's strategy to "degrade and ultimately, destroy" ISIS militants in Iraq. The plan, which the president emphasized would not require American combat troops, called for airstrikes on ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq and support for Iraqi and Kurdish fighting forces.
"We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy," Obama said.
"First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists," the president said outlining his strategy. "Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we're hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense."
The president added he would "not hesitate" to conduct air strikes in Syria, an action the administration has yet to take.
"I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven."
Obama also announced that an additional 475 U.S. troops would be heading to Iraq to assist Iraqi and Kurdish forces with "with training, intelligence, and equipment."
The president likewise called on Congress to give him authority to help "train and equip" moderate Syrian rebels to fight ISIS.
"We have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I again call on Congress to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria's crisis once and for all."
The United States would also work to cut off ISIS's funding and counter their ideology, the president said.
"We will continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks. Working with our partners, we will redouble our efforts to cut off its funding, improve our intelligence, strengthen our defenses, counter its warped ideology, and stem the flow of foreign fighters into — and out of — the Middle East. And in two weeks, I will chair a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to further mobilize the international community around this effort."
The president lastly announced the United States would "continue providing humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.