Isis air strikes limited without viable Syrian rebel force, says White House

  • WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 08: United Kingdom Foreign Minister Philip Hammond (L) and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) answer questions during a joint press conference following a private meeting at the State Department October 8, 2014 in Washington, DC. Hammond and Kerry discussed strategy relating to the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, efforts to combat the Ebola virus, and developments in Ukraine during their remarks. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    ‘Our strategy is reliant on something that is not yet in place’
  • Britain calls on Turkey to do more to help Syrian Kurds

The White House has admitted that military advances by the Islamic State in Syria show the limits of American policy to “roll back” its fighters without committing US ground troops, but insisted a long-term coalition strategy will still defeat the militant group.

“There are limitations associated with the exclusive use of air power,” said President Obama’s spokesman, Josh Earnest, when pressed on Isis advances on Kobani in a briefing for reporters in Washington. “Our strategy [in Syria] is reliant on something that is not yet in place … a Syrian opposition that can take the fight to Isil,” he added, using an alternative acronym for the group.

Speaking at the Pentagon after a meeting with top generals, President Obama himself added: “It remains a difficult mission. As I’ve indicated from the start, this is not something that is going to be solved overnight.”ere

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