Earnest: Our Syria Strategy Is ‘Contingent Upon a Ground Force’ that Can Fight ISIS

‘We have implemented this specific strategy ... that is what our strategy is arrayed around’

"At the same time, the broader strategy that the president has laid out for combating ISIL is focused on degrading the command and control ability of ISIL. There are number of command and control targets that have been destroyed by the U.S. led coalition bombing campaign.

There are other targets that are related to ISIL's ability to fund their operations and to supply logistically their operations that have been destroyed or significantly degraded because of military operations that were ordered by the president of the United States. So we have implemented this specific strategy.

We continue to be concerned about what is happening in Kobani. But ultimately, our broader strategy when it comes to Syria is contingent upon a ground force that can take a fight to ISIL in that country. Our overall goal here and that's important to remember because this is where it intersects with American national security priorities is most significant.

Our overall goal is related to ensuring that ISIL and other extremist groups cannot use the power vacuum that exists in Syria right now as a safe haven from which they plot attacks against the United States. That is our central goal and that is what our strategy is arrayed around."

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