World Bulletin/News Desk
President Barack Obama vowed more strikes in Syria on Tuesday after U.S. forces carried out separate air raids targeting ISIL militants and an al Qaeda affiliate that Washington said was plotting attacks on America and Europe.
"We will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people," Obama said as he left the White House to travel to the United Nations in New York, where he will meet officials from Arab nations that joined in the strikes against the ISIL group.
The White House said U.S. forces made separate strikes on its own against the Khorasan group, an al Qaeda affiliate, in order to disrupt planning for imminent attacks on the west.
"For some time now, we've been tracking plots to conduct attacks in the United States or Europe," Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, told reporters traveling with the president to the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
"We believe that attack plotting was imminent," Rhodes said, "and that they had plans to conduct attacks external to Syria."
"I can tell you that last night's strikes were only the beginning," Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters. He said the strikes had been 'very successful' and would continue.
Another military spokesman said Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, took part in the second and third waves of attacks. Lieutenant General William Mayville Jr. said the actions by those Arab countries ranged from combat air patrols to hitting targets.
Mayville said the strikes hit training camps, headquarters, vehicles and other sites under the control of ISIL. He said the strikes were the start "of a credible and sustainable persistent campaign to degrade and ultimately destroy" ISIL.
Obama said he would meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and "friends and allies" at the United Nations to continue building support for the coalition against the ISIL group.
The U.S. leader said the strength of the coalition, now at more than 40 countries, showed the fight against such militants is not America's alone.
"The overall effort will take time. There will be challenges ahead but we're going to do what's necessary to take the fight to this terrorist group," Obama said.
Obama said the campaign is in line with the strategy he outlined earlier this month to combat ISIL.
Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said on Tuesday that he was personally informed by U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power of the imminent U.S. and Arab air strikes against ISIL targets on Syrian territory hours ahead of time.
Ja'afari said Power told him on Monday morning that the military action would be carried out. He added that "we're in close coordination with Iraq." The U.S. mission confirmed that Power had informed Ja'afari.
The dominant Kurdish political group in Syria welcomed U.S.-led strikes in the country and said on Tuesday that it wanted to coordinate on confronting the militant group.
"We look forward to coordinating with the (anti-ISIL) coalition in the face of terrorism, which threatens all human values in the Middle East," Democratic Union Party (PYD) leader Salih Muslim said in a statement.
It also said that the Kurdish town of Kobani in northern Syria was still at risk from ISIL, whose attacks in the surrounding countryside have driven tens of thousands of Kurds across the border into Turkey.
Last Mod: 23 Eylül 2014, 21:53