During his weekly address, President Obama turned his focus on the fight against ISIS and stated his resolve to continue "accelerating our campaign on all fronts" to further his stated mission of degrading and destroying the Islamic terror organization.
"This remains a difficult fight, and the situation in Syria and Iraq is incredibly complex," the president said. "ISIL is entrenched, including in urban areas. It uses innocent civilians as human shields. Despite these challenges, I can report that we’re making progress. And this week, I directed my team to continue accelerating our campaign on all fronts."
Here's what that entails: a 66-member global coalition, including Arab partners, over 10,000 airstrikes with more in the coming days, targeting leaders and commanders "taking them out, day in, day out, one after another after another."
Obama also updated some of the recent successes in the region:
In Iraq, ISIL has now lost more than 40 percent of the areas it once controlled. In Syria, a coalition of local forces is tightening the squeeze on ISIL’s stronghold of Raqqa. As we bomb its oil infrastructure, ISIL’s been forced to slash the salaries of its fighters. Thanks to the work of many nations, the flow of foreign terrorist fighters into Syria finally appears to be slowing. In short, in Syria and Iraq, ISIL’s territory is shrinking, there are fewer ISIL fighters on the battlefield, and it’s harder for them to recruit and replenish their ranks.
But the president cautioned that the only way to bring defeat to ISIS is the end of the civil war in Syria, something Obama said, "We're not under any illusions" in believing ISIS has any intentions on withdrawing. "There are plenty of reasons for skepticism," the president added.
And even though he admits as much, Obama still believes its possible because "everyone knows what needs to happen" to end the violence -- everyone but him, apparently:
All parties must end attacks, including aerial bombardment. Humanitarian aid must be allowed to reach areas under siege. Much will depend on whether the Syrian regime, Russia and their allies live up to their commitments. The coming hours and days will be critical, and the world is watching.
But not to worry, the president assures that "there will be absolutely no cease-fire" by way of American military forces.
"We'll remain relentless," he said, adding that he plans on doing the same back in the States, especially when it comes to his favorite diversionary topic: lone wolves:
Finally, we’ll continue to stay vigilant here at home, including for lone actors or small groups of terrorists like those in San Bernardino, which are harder to detect. Our homeland security and law enforcement professionals are hard at work—24/7. At the same time, we’ll keep working to build partnerships of trust and respect with communities to help them stay strong and resilient. That includes upholding our values—including freedom of religion—so that we stay united as one American family.
And reminding us all that this isn't based on true Islam -- a word not mentioned at all in this address -- Obama is confident that an end can be brought to this "barbaric" terrorism.