WASHINGTON, November 5 (RIA Novosti) — US President Barack Obama said Wednesday he is planning to ask the US Congress to approve the use of military force against Islamic State militants.
"I am going to begin engaging Congress over a new authorization to use military force against ISIL," Obama told a news conference in the White House.
Until today, the airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had been based on authorizations passed in 2001 and 2002, but various politicians have said Washington was going over the limits of those provisions.
The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a Sunni extremist group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq, seizing vast areas in both countries and announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.
In September, Obama announced the formation of an international coalition to fight extremists. Washington extended its airstrikes from Iraq to Syria, and promised to provide support, equipment and training to Kurdish and Iraqi forces army and Syria’s moderate opposition in order to respond to terrorists’ threat.
However, Obama refused to characterize the campaign as a war and assured that US troops would not be back to Iraq territory.