Obama Orders Acceleration of War Against ISIS

PHOTO: Gas cylinder shelling in a residential area of Aleppo, Syria, Feb. 18, 2016. Iliya Pitalev/Sputnik/AP Photo
Gas cylinder shelling in a residential area of Aleppo, Syria, Feb. 18, 2016.

President Obama ordered his national security team to “continue accelerating” the U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State “on all fronts.”

Obama convened a meeting with his National Security team today at the State Department as diplomats grapple over the details of a cessation of hostilities in Syria.

“This is a tough situation with a lot of moving parts,” Obama said of a tenuous cessation of hostilities in Syria’s civil war.

“If implemented, and that’s a significant if, the cessation could reduce the violence and get more food and aid to Syrians who are suffering and desperately need it,” Obama said. “It could save lives. Potentially, it could also lead to negotiations on a political settlement to end the civil war so that everybody can focus their attention on destroying ISIL [or ISIS] and that’s why the United States will do everything we can to maximize chance of success in this cessation of hostilities.”

The president also received an update from his military advisers about the U.S.-led coalition’s ongoing efforts to defeat the Islamic State, including against its growing foothold in Libya.

Obama was adamant that the ceasefire would not impact operations to destroy ISIS.

“We remain relentless in going after them,” he said.