News / Middle East

Obama Signals No Immediate Airstrikes in Syria

President Barack Obama, Aug. 28, 2014.
President Barack Obama, Aug. 28, 2014.
VOA News

President Barack Obama is downplaying the possibility of imminent U.S. airstrikes against Islamic extremists in Syria, as the insurgents released a new video appearing to show another brutal beheading.

Speaking to reporters Thursday at the White House, Obama said he is still working on a comprehensive plan to deal with the group.

The president said the U.S. will continue strikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq, which he said have dealt a blow to the militants, but added that recent media speculation about whether the U.S. would soon expand the operation to Syria is presumptive.

On Friday, the SITE Intelligence Group said the militants posted a new video appearing to show three masked men beheading a captured Kurdish soldier. The monitoring service says the video warned Kurdish leader Massud Barzani to stop allying with U.S. forces.

The group has repeatedly released bloody execution videos, including one showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley. It has threatened to carry out more beheadings if the U.S. does not stop its airstrikes in Iraq.

U.S. officials say they are studying possible limited military action in Syria. Last week, Obama authorized air surveillance on Islamist fighters there.

A call for regional cooperation

At his news conference Thursday, the president insisted U.S. force alone cannot deal with the threat, saying the region must work together.

"This should be a wake-up call to Sunni, to Shia, to everybody, that a group like ISIS is beyond the pale, that they have no vision or ideology beyond violence and chaos and the slaughter of innocent people. And as a consequence, we've got to all join together, even if we have differences on a range of political issues, to make sure they're rooted out," said Obama

Obama spoke before meeting with his national security team on the crises in Iraq and Syria. There was no word about what was decided on at the meeting.

Syria said this week it would welcome U.S. and British help in fighting the militants, but only in coordination with Damascus. It says a unilateral U.S. attack would violate its airspace and could lead to an attempt to shoot down American warplanes.

U.S. officials have said they would not first consult Syria as President Bashar al-Assad has lost the authority to lead.

Calls for greater U.S. intervention have been mounting as the extremists continue their campaign, which U.N. officials have said amounts to ethnic and religious cleansing.

On Friday, U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon again expressed outrage at the group's "brutal killings of civilians" in Iraq and Syria. Ban said whole communities that had lived for generations in northern Iraq are being forced to flee or face death just for their religious beliefs.

Islamic State waterboarding

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported Friday that the Islamic State group has waterboarded at least four Western hostages held in Syria.

The paper said the hostages included James Foley, the American journalist who was beheaded by an Islamic State militant.

The Post cited people with firsthand knowledge of what happened to the hostages.

Waterboarding, or simulated drowning, is regarded by many, including President Obama and international rights groups, as a form of torture.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency used the interrogation method on terror suspects arrested after the September 11 attacks in 2001.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (4)
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
August 29, 2014 12:04 PM
What can the US the greatest super power on earth do when challenged by "The Emir of the Believers" al-Baghdadi (ISIL) Sunni Muslim army that cuts off an Americans head on the worldwide news?.... (Obama will bomb a few more (ISIL) army pickup trucks, armored vehicles, and artillery pieces, and arm and train more Sunni Muslims to attack Assad in Syria?)..... (Didn't Obama say after killing Bin Laden, the world is a safer place?)


by: Hughes from: USA
August 29, 2014 7:49 AM
Regardless of political party affiliation, it is very short sighted to blame Obama for inaction in Syria. The rest of the industrialized world - Europe and Japan - have adopted a "wait-for-America-do-it" attitude. This problem will affect the entire western world. America will break down if it tries to solve every conflict in every region of this planet. What Obama should be doing is rally the industrialized world and so-called United Nations to do their job. The U.N. was created to protect member states, but it now waits for America to do it.


by: Mr A from: New York
August 29, 2014 6:56 AM
The American policy makers are acting as a person he refuses to understand. We have to co operate with Bashar el Assad To fight ISIs. it is clear that Basar El Assad is less evil than these thugs which prove beyond reasons of doubt that they are dangerous oversees and at local level. ISIS is wake Up call to demonstrate the dangerous of Islam . US have been identified 100 jihadist by Us local Enforcement and these thugs should not return to US even they are American Citizen. Us has to work with Europe and use its resources to identify over 5000 European joined Jihadist to apprehend them to contain the problem


by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, USA
August 29, 2014 6:20 AM
What'er our air strikes going against the IS militia and their advancements inside the Iraqi territory; and, beheading our journalist Foley; the inhuman, barbaric brutalities of this group, ....... the targets for our govt. remain inside the Iraqi territory only. In the meantime, the infandus Assad regime plays an amazing diplomacy - as our jounalist Foley was beheaded by the IS militia, what we Americans should do - our govt. and our friendly states should move with the Assad regime to liquidating the IS inside the Syrian territory that the Assad regime does unsuccessfully fights against.

Still the threatening of the Syrian foreign minister we should not go for a pre-emptive air strikes violating the Syrian rex status; not else, the regime air defense systems to shoot our fighter aircrafts down. The Syrian regime's foreign minister's childish statements do not misle our govt. Our govt. does move with a proper strategy while upkeeping our personnel, interests and the Iraqi people. We are not going to play in the hands of the Assad regime's interests. We do have the strength and strategies to dealing with the IS outrages.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid