Updated 7:18 p.m. Moscow Time
WASHINGTON, September 23 (RIA Novosti) - US President Barack Obama pledged on Tuesday to continue the fight against Islamic State militants and build up an international coalition in his first public remarks on US strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria.
"Once again, it must be clear to anyone who would plot against America and do Americans harm that we will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people," Obama said. in a brief statement at the White House.
Obama praised the efforts of the US-led international coalition, which now comprises over 40 countries, to defeat the IS radical Sunni group, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and other terrorist groups affiliated with it.
"The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this not America's fight alone," he said.
"We will move forward with our plans supported by bipartisan majorities in Congress to ramp up our effort to train and equip the Syrian opposition…to take out terrorist targets, to train and equip Iraqi and Syrian opposition fighters who are going up against ISIL on the ground, to cut off ISIL's financing, to counter its hateful ideology and to stop the flow of fighters into and out of the region," Obama added.
"Over the next several days I will have the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister [Haider] Abadi of Iraq and with friends and allies at the United Nations to continue building support for the coalition that is confronting this serious threat to our peace and security," Obama said.
"The overall effort will take time, [and] there will be challenges ahead," the US president noted.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Unites States carried out a number of airstrikes against IS positions in Syria, using aircraft, drones and Tomahawk missiles. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates also reportedly took part in the attacks.
Obama unveiled a strategy for defeating the IS on September 10. The plan includes forming an international coalition to fight the radical organization and authorizing US airstrikes against IS positions in Syria, while simultaneously continuing airstrikes in Iraq, which the United States authorized in August.
The IS has been fighting against Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq. Ceasing vast territories in both countries and forcing thousands of people, mostly religious minorities, to flee, the IS declared a caliphate on all the territories under its control.