Despite the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) capturing two major cities this week, President Obama dismissed the notion that the United States is losing the war against the insurgent group.
“No, I don’t think we’re losing,” Obama told Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic in an interview Tuesday.
Upon seizing Ramadi, ISIS militants destroyed several sites which predate Islam in Iraq. Ramadi is located in Anbar province, the largest in the country.
Known as Tadmor in the Bible, Palmyra was first established by the Israelite King Solomon over 3,000 years ago. The city is home to many artifacts and gas fields, advancing the terror group’s influence in the region.
Obama told Goldberg that despite the fall of Ramadi, he would not overhaul his approach to fighting ISIS.
“There’s no doubt there was a tactical setback, although Ramadi had been vulnerable for a very long time, primarily because these are not Iraqi security forces that we have trained or reinforced,” Obama said. “The training of Iraqi security forces, the fortifications, the command-and-control systems are not happening fast enough in Anbar, in the Sunni parts of the country.”
These victories by ISIS overshadow a successful mission by U.S. forces that killed Abu Sayyaf, who was in charge of financial operations for ISIS. Reports of the mission by the Delta Force team surfaced earlier this week.
When Jonathan Karl of ABC News asked White House press secretary Josh Earnest Monday if the U.S. strategy to combat ISIS “has been a success,” Earnest responded in the affirmative.
“Well, Jon, yeah. Overall, yes,” Earnest said. “That doesn’t mean there haven’t been areas of setback, as we saw in Ramadi.”
h/t: The Hill
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