NEW YORK, October 7 (RIA Novosti) – US-led airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria are effective, but will not destroy the group on their own, Pentagon spokeswoman Cmdr. Elissa Smith told RIA Novosti Tuesday.
“Our airstrikes have been effective in achieving our goal of degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL,” Cmdr. Smith said in a statement, using an alternate version of the extremist group’s name.
“This isn't going to be solved through airstrikes or military power alone. There has to be more to this than just airstrikes. It doesn't mean that the airstrikes aren't important, that they won't continue or that they aren't being effective. What it does mean is that airstrikes are just one piece of a much larger strategy that's going to take some time,” the Pentagon press officer stressed.
The IS, a sectarian Sunni Muslim militia of more than 30,000 fighters that controls swathes of Sunni-majority areas on either side of the Iraq-Syria border, has made recent gains on the north Syrian town of Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, and in Iraq’s Anbar Province.
US President Barack Obama believes the IS can be routed by US-led airstrikes and by bolstering a ground force of Kurds, Iraqis and moderate elements of Syria’s opposition. In August, the United States started launching airstrikes against the IS positions in Iraq. In September, the attacks of the US and its allies were extended to Syria.