US forces will continue “to root out and defeat” IS – Obama

US President Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama

WASHINGTON, March 26 (KUNA) — US forces are going to continue “to root out and defeat ISIL,” President Barack Obama said on Saturday in his weekly address, referring to the so-called Islamic State.
“We have been taking out ISIL leadership, and this week, we removed one of their top leaders from the battlefield — permanently,” he said, referring to Abd Al Rahman Mustafa Al Qaduli.
A relentless air campaign, and support for forces in Iraq and Syria who are fighting ISIL on the ground has recovered approximately 40 percent of the populated territory that ISIL once held in Iraq, he noted.
“We are supporting Iraqi Security Forces who are beginning to put pressure on the ISIL stronghold of Mosul, and we will not stop until ISILآ’s safe havens are destroyed,” Obama said.
“We are also working to disrupt plots against the United States and against our friends and allies,” the President said, noting that a team of FBI agents is in Belgium supporting the investigation of the terror attacks there this week.
Secretary of State John Kerry is leading an international effort to bring the Syrian civil war to an end, a critical piece of restoring stability to that war-torn part of the world, he said. And next week, dozens of world leaders will come to Washington for a summit focused on nuclear security, he said, adding, “We will use that opportunity to also review our joint efforts against ISIL, and to make sure the world remains united in this effort to protect our people.” “As we move forward in this fight, we have to wield another weapon … and that is the power of our example — our openness to refugees fleeing ISILآ’s violence; our determination to win the battle against ISILآ’s hateful and violent propaganda — a distorted view of Islam that aims to radicalize young Muslims to their cause,” Obama said.
“In that effort, our most important partners are American Muslims,” he said. “That is why we have to reject any attempt to stigmatize Muslim-Americans and their enormous contributions to our country and our way of life.” “Such attempts are contrary to our character, our values and our history as a nation built around the idea of religious freedom,” he said. “It is also counterproductive. It plays right into the hands of terrorists who want to turn us against one another; who need a reason to recruit more people to their hateful cause.” (end)