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Kurds In Syria Say US Airstrikes Not Working As ISIS Advances

Two weeks after the US expanded its military campaign from Iraq into Syria the city of Kobani is set to fall to ISIS fighters. The Syrian Kurds fighting to stop ISIS’ advance have claimed that US airstrikes are not effective as ISIS simply changed tactics without missing a beat.

Kobani sits on the border between Syria and Turkey and, if captured, would provide ISIS a more coherent territorial map that stretches from Northern Syria to Western Iraq.

While President Obama promised explicitly he would not send in ground troops, US Senators such as Lindsey Graham and House Speaker John Boehner say the only way to actually stop ISIS is with ground forces. Whether ISIS actually poses a threat to US national security is a question long dismissed.

“Air strikes alone are really not enough to defeat Isis in Kobani,” said Idris Nassan, a senior spokesman for the Kurdish fighters desperately trying to defend the important strategic redoubt from the advancing militants. “They are besieging the city on three sides, and fighter jets simply cannot hit each and every Isis fighter on the ground.”

He said Isis had adapted its tactics to military strikes from the air. “Each time a jet approaches, they leave their open positions, they scatter and hide. What we really need is ground support. We need heavy weapons and ammunition in order to fend them off and defeat them.”

This is one of the traps involved in the Syria policy. This air campaign’s lack of effectiveness was predicted by a plethora of military analysts before the bombs started to fall. ISIS was unlikely to be “degraded and destroyed” by an air campaign.

So now President Obama, having incorrectly characterized ISIS as an imminent threat to the US, looks like a failure for not being able to stop them. More importantly, particularly from the political class in DC’s perspective, it now looks like the US can not destroy those it claims it will destroy.

Which means Obama either needs to up the ante by breaking his word and sending in troops or admit ISIS is not the threat he claimed it was.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Kurds In Syria Say US Airstrikes Not Working As ISIS Advances

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Two weeks after the US expanded its military campaign from Iraq into Syria the city of Kobani is set to fall to ISIS fighters. The Syrian Kurds fighting to stop ISIS’ advance have claimed that US airstrikes are not effective as ISIS simply changed tactics without missing a beat.

Kobani sits on the border between Syria and Turkey and, if captured, would provide ISIS a more coherent territorial map that stretches from Northern Syria to Western Iraq.

While President Obama promised explicitly he would not send in ground troops, US Senators such as Lindsey Graham and House Speaker John Boehner say the only way to actually stop ISIS is with ground forces. Whether ISIS actually poses a threat to US national security is a question long dismissed.

“Air strikes alone are really not enough to defeat Isis in Kobani,” said Idris Nassan, a senior spokesman for the Kurdish fighters desperately trying to defend the important strategic redoubt from the advancing militants. “They are besieging the city on three sides, and fighter jets simply cannot hit each and every Isis fighter on the ground.”

He said Isis had adapted its tactics to military strikes from the air. “Each time a jet approaches, they leave their open positions, they scatter and hide. What we really need is ground support. We need heavy weapons and ammunition in order to fend them off and defeat them.”

This is one of the traps involved in the Syria policy. This air campaign’s lack of effectiveness was predicted by a plethora of military analysts before the bombs started to fall. ISIS was unlikely to be “degraded and destroyed” by an air campaign.

So now President Obama, having incorrectly characterized ISIS as an imminent threat to the US, looks like a failure for not being able to stop them. More importantly, particularly from the political class in DC’s perspective, it now looks like the US can not destroy those it claims it will destroy.

Which means Obama either needs to up the ante by breaking his word and sending in troops or admit ISIS is not the threat he claimed it was.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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