It’s time to go after ISIS in Iraq and Syria, President Barack Obama said Wednesday night in a nationally televised address intended to sell stepped-up military efforts to a war-weary public. Obama said the United States would expand its airstrikes against the Sunni jihadists in Iraq to target them across the border in Syria. “I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are,” he said. “That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.” The declaration answered calls from a growing number of U.S. politicians for such a step, with increasing public support.
Obama also announced another 475 American military advisers would go to Iraq, pushing the total figure to about 1,700. At the same time, he made clear the strategy differed from all-out war again in Iraq less than three years after he withdrew combat forces from the country. “It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil,” Obama said. His address from the White House also sought to convince allies and the nation of a firm U.S. commitment to lead an international coalition to fight the jihadists who rampaged across northern Iraq from Syria this year. They are known as ISIS, ISIL and Islamic State.