Inspite of the fact that some ISIS militants have been forced out of the Syrian town of Kobani as a result of airstrikes by U.S and coalition forces, the border town might still fall to the extremists, fears the Pentagon.
“Kobani could be taken. We recognize that,” Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters. “We’re doing everything we can from the air to try to halt the momentum of ISIL against that town,” he added, using a common acronym for the Islamic State group. “Air power is not going to be alone enough to save that city.”
Kirby further added that other towns were also at risk. There were airstrikes at six locations around Kobani, and others earlier this week. He says there are mixed reports about how many Islamic State militants pulled back.
Kirby said Pentagon officials are not planning to ask President Barack Obama to commit ground forces to the fight inside Syria. The U.S. and partner countries, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have been bombing Islamic State targets in Syria under Obama’s order to degrade and destroy the group. But administration officials have cautioned that the going will be slow.
“We all need to prepare ourselves for the reality that other towns and villages — and perhaps Kobani — will be taken by ISIL,” Kirby said, adding that the key to eventually defeating the militants is to train and enable indigenous ground forces.
“We don’t have a force inside Syria that we can cooperate with and work with,” Kirby said. That is why the administration is planning to train and arm 5,000 moderate opposition Syrian fighters at sites elsewhere in the Middle East and then insert them back into Syria to take on Islamic State forces, Kirby said.
After two months, the US-led aerial campaign in Iraq has hardly dented the core of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) territory. The extremist fighters have melted into urban areas when needed to elude the threat, and they have even succeeded in taking new territory from an Iraqi army that still buckles in the face of militants.