WASHINGTON, November 13 (Sputnik) – The United States is not reviewing its Syria strategy to fight the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, said Thursday.
Earlier, CNN channel reported citing government sources that US President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the US policy regarding Syria after realizing that IS may not be defeated without the removal of President Bashar Assad.
“No. There's no formal strategy review of our Syria policy. What there is, is a strategy for degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL that requires us to take a hard look at what we're doing on a regular basis,” Rhodes told a news briefing.
The United States is facing much harder challenges fighting IS in Syria than in Iraq but still “has been successful in degrading ISIL,” Rhodes said, adding that “we've had regular meetings that the President has joined with his national security team on this issue.”
“Syria has been an important subject at those meetings. And I think the President wants to make sure that we're asking hard questions about what we're targeting in Syria, how we're able to degrade ISIL. But also about how we're supporting the opposition and building them up as a counterweight to ISIL, but also ultimately, of course, as a counterweight to the Assad regime,” the adviser said.
IS, also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories over which it had control.
In an attempt to impede the military advancement of the group, the United States launched airstrikes against the jihadists' positions in Iraq and Syria. Washington also said it was going to provide support, equipment and training to Kurdish and Iraqi forces and Syria's moderate opposition in order to respond to the IS threat.