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Oct 9, 2014

Threat to Syrian town tests patience for U.S. strategy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The threat from Islamic State fighters to the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani is an early test of the U.S.-led coalition’s patience for a military strategy that at the moment cannot hold ground in Syria.

As President Barack Obama met with top brass at the Pentagon on Wednesday, his administration sought to set low expectations for what U.S.-led air strikes could accomplish in Syria’s ground war, and acknowledged Kobani may fall into the clutch of Islamic State, also known as ISIL, in the days ahead.

Oct 9, 2014

Analysis – Threat to Syrian town tests patience for U.S. strategy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The threat from Islamic State fighters to the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani is an early test of the U.S.-led coalition’s patience for a military strategy that at the moment cannot hold ground in Syria.

As President Barack Obama met with top brass at the Pentagon on Wednesday, his administration sought to set low expectations for what U.S.-led air strikes could accomplish in Syria’s ground war, and acknowledged Kobani may fall into the clutch of Islamic State, also known as ISIL, in the days ahead.

Oct 8, 2014

U.S. military says air power may not save Syrian town of Kobani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military on Wednesday said air power alone may not save the Syrian town of Kobani from Islamic State militants as U.S. officials appeared to brace for the town’s fall.

Although the U.S. military carried out six air strikes to try to keep the town from IS hands, it also acknowledged that Kobani and other towns may be overrun by the group, which has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria this year.

Oct 6, 2014

U.S. uses helicopters for first time to hit Islamic State rebels

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military is flying Apache helicopters against Islamic State rebels in Iraq for the first time, exposing U.S. troops to greater risk from ground fire as they help Iraqi forces battle the Islamist group that has overrun parts of the country.

U.S. troops flew helicopters against Islamic State fighters on Sunday and again on Monday as they struck at mortar teams and other units near Fallujah, said a spokesman for Central Command, which is responsible for U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Oct 3, 2014

U.S. ramps up Ebola troop deployments, total may near 4,000

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Friday it may send nearly 4,000 troops to West Africa to support America’s response to the Ebola crisis, almost 1,000 above its previous estimate, and cautioned its projections may change further.

The increased Pentagon forecast came as the World Health Organization hiked the estimated death toll from Ebola to 3,439 people, and as U.S. authorities scrambled to contain the spread of the virus after the first person was diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.

Oct 2, 2014

U.S. says discussed with France possible French role in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday he discussed with France its possible involvement in the U.S.-led campaign in Syria but his French counterpart would not be drawn on whether Paris might join in airstrikes.

France was the first country to join the U.S.-led coalition in airstrikes on Islamic State insurgents in Iraq, who have also taken control of large parts of neighboring Syria during the course of the three-year-old civil war there.

Sep 30, 2014

Pentagon: media lacking patience at start of Islamic State fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon on Tuesday criticized some media coverage for lacking patience at the start of a long fight against the Islamic State, cautioning that progress would take time and saying “we cannot bomb them into obscurity” in Syria and Iraq.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, declined to specify which coverage was, in his words, “a little shrill and hyperbolic and not exactly in balance.”

Sep 26, 2014

Up to 15,000 Syrian rebels needed to retake eastern Syria -U.S. military

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Western-backed opposition force of around 12,000 to 15,000 will be needed to retake areas of eastern Syria controlled by Islamic State militants, the top U.S military officer said on Friday, as the Pentagon outlined the first steps in a U.S.-led training program that could run several years.

The Pentagon said its assessment teams have already arrived in Saudi Arabia to help map out a U.S.-led program there expected to train more than 5,000 Western-backed opposition fighters in the first year.

Sep 24, 2014

New airstrikes in Syria take aim at Islamic State’s oil money

WASHINGTON, Sept 24 (Reuters) – A third night of U.S.-led
airstrikes pounded Islamic State-controlled oil refineries in
eastern Syria, as the United States and its partners moved to
choke off a crucial source of revenue for the militant group,
U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joined in the
strikes by piloted and drone aircraft targeting facilities
around al Mayadin, al Hasakah, and Abu Kamal, the U.S. military
said.

Sep 24, 2014

U.S. says still assessing fate of Khorasan figure after Syria strike

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Wednesday it was still assessing whether Mohsin al-Fadhli, a senior figure of the al Qaeda-linked Khorasan group, was killed in a U.S. strike in Syria, with the Pentagon cautioning any confirmation could take time.

One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters earlier on Wednesday: “We believe he is dead.”

    • About Phil

      "Phil Stewart has worked for Reuters since 1998 and reported from more than 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt. Before becoming a Washington D.C.-based military affairs and intelligence reporter, Phil covered terrorism, foreign affairs and the Vatican from Rome from 2004 until mid-2009. He has also previously been based in Colombia and Brazil as a foreign correspondent. Before joining Reuters, Phil covered U.S. politics out of Washington D.C. for States News Service. He earned his BS in international relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. ..."
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