The White House has chalked out a fresh strategy to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) terrorists.
Intensifying the campaign against ISIL terrorists in Iraq and Syria will enhance U.S. military strategies that are working while moving away from those that are not, a senior Defense Department official said Friday.
The U.S. move to step up the offensive against ISIS is believed to be inspired by the increasing influence of Russia in the region, as a few weeks ago Russian forces entered Syria to help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. has been opposing Assad’s regime in Syria.
Earlier, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. had observed that the fight against ISIL has been and will be tough, noting that the enemy is adaptable and flexible.
Speaking to Pentagon reporters on background following the White House announcement on stepping up the anti-ISIL campaign, the official said DoD outlined five objectives that, used in concert, will achieve strategic success.
The five objectives will be concurrent with the existing U.S. and coalition forces campaign to maximize pressure on ISIL, the official said.
The objectives are designed to:
1. Enhance training in Iraq, particularly in counter-improvised explosive devices, counter-breaching and combined arms to enable Iraqi security forces to take back Ramadi and Beiji from ISIL control. The training is to counter what has become ISIL’s sophisticated use of IEDs.
2. Add new and additional local Syrian forces and equipment to take and ultimately hold the ISIL-declared stronghold of Raqqa.
3. Secure northern Syria’s border with Turkey to drastically reduce the flow of foreign fighters, material and money to ISIL.
4. Degrade ISIL lines of communication to strain the connection ISIL extremists have between Raqqa and Mosul in Iraq.
5. Reinforce Jordan’s and Lebanon’s defenses as ISIL is pushed south and west. Enhancing counter-ISIL support in both nations is expected to provide enhanced contingency planning so a strong defense plan is in place and reinforced, the official said. Lebanon likely will have doubled security assistance in its armed forces to protect against ISIL’s and other terrorist groups’ encroachment, the official said.