White House Sticks by Its Strategy Against ISIS

Press Secretary Josh Earnest says US strategy is working.

ByJORDYN PHELPS
May 21, 2015, 4:43 PM

— -- The White House says the president’s strategy against ISIS is working, despite the fact that ISIS is in control of much of Syria and has gained control of the capital city of Iraq’s largest province.

"We are in the degrade portion of this operation,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters in today's press briefing, pushing back against those who are calling for an overhaul of the current strategy and drawing a hard line against the consideration of a large-scale military deployment.

“The president is not going to be in a position where he's going to consider a large-scale U.S. military deployment,” Earnest added. “And for those who are calling on a change in strategy, I would encourage them to be specific.”

Instead of overhauling current strategy, Earnest told ABC News' Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl that that President Obama and his national security team are looking for ways to apply strategies that have worked in other places -- using Kobani and Tikrit as examples of success -- to areas where the United States is experiencing setbacks.

“What's under consideration is how can we learn from those situations where we have had success and made progress and how can we apply those lessons to this area where we have experienced a setback,” Earnest told Karl.

Though Earnest said the White House is “deeply concerned” about the situation in Palmyra, the administration is not changing its current strategy in Syria.

“Until we're able to build up local forces on the ground in Syria who can take the fight to ISIL in their own country, you know, this is going to continue to be a difficult challenge, and one that is not going to be solved overnight, but rather, one that will require a long-term commitment,” he said.

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