President Obama Regroups Forces in Campaign to Battle ISIS

President Obama receives update on ISIL from national security officials

ByABC News
August 4, 2016, 7:02 PM

— -- As ISIS continues to expand its influence and ability to launch attacks around the world, President Obama is continuing an escalation of U.S. airstrikes targeting fighters in areas beyond Syria and Iraq, including Libya, which the Islamic State is now exploiting.

“The decline of ISIL in Syria and Iraq appears to be causing it to shift to tactics that we've seen before; an even greater emphasis on encouraging high profile terrorist attacks, including in the United States,” Obama said following a two-hour National Security Council meeting he convened at the Pentagon. "We’re going to keep going after ISIL aggressively across every front of this campaign.”

While the U.S. often trumpets the anti-coalition’s efforts to regain ISIS-held territory in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State is reported to be active in 18 countries.

“As ISIL is beaten back, we're gaining vast amounts of intelligence; thousands of documents, thumb drives, digital files, which we will use to keep destroying ISIL's networks and stop foreign fighters,” Obama said. “Even ISIL's leaders know they're going to keep losing. In their message to followers, they're increasingly acknowledging that they may lose Mosul and Raqqah and ISIL is right. They will lose them, and we'll keep hitting them and pushing them back and driving them out until they do.”

The president also urged Americans to resist buying into some of the controversial proposals discussed on the campaign trail, including banning Muslims from immigrating to the United States or carpet bombing the Middle East.

“This is part of the reason, however, why it is so important for us to keep our eye on the ball and not panic, not succumb to fear because ISIL can’t defeat the United States of America or our NATO partners," Obama added. "We can defeat ourselves though if we make bad decisions."

“But if we start making bad decisions, indiscriminately killing civilians for example in some of these areas, instituting offensive religious tests on who can enter the country, you know, those kinds of strategies can end up backfiring. Because in order for us to ultimately win this fight, we cannot frame this as a clash of civilizations between the West and Islam, that plays exactly into the hands of ISIL and the perversions and perverse interpretations of Islam that they're putting forward," he said.

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