By Vick Karunakaran
Arab allies joined forces with the U.S to launch waves of overnight airstrikes against the militant group ISIS.
U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a statement following the latest airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria.
As part of the campaign against ISIS, “the United States will take action against targets both in Iraq and Syria,“ Mr. Obama said.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar joined U.S. as part of a broad coalition in the fight against ISIS.
Mr. Obama also announced the plan to train and equip the Syrian opposition against ISIS and the Assad regime.
The strikes were against two particular groups, ISIS and the Khorasan group, said Pentagon press Secretary John Kirby in a press briefing on Tuesday.
Kirby called the Khorasan group a network of seasoned al-Qaeda veterans.
These strikes were conducted to disrupt imminent attack plotting against United States and western targets, he said.
A Gulf security source familiar with the air strikes told Reuters the Saudis had sent four F-16 fighter jets, the UAE contributed four warplanes, Bahrain two and Qatar a Mirage jet which did not drop any bombs or take an “active part” in the attack.
Mr. Obama said the U.S. will take action “so that these terrorists can’t find safe haven anywhere.”
“We did not coordinate with the Assad regime,” said Kirby.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, did inform the Syrian regime of their intent to take action, he added.
Syria’s U.N. Ambassador, Bashar Ja’afari, told Reuters that Power informed him in person of the imminent airstrikes against ISIS targets on Syrian territory on Monday hours beforehand.
“Our initial indication is that these strikes were very successful,” said Kirby. “Last night’s strikes were only the beginning,” he added.
The attack killed scores of ISIS fighters and members of Khorasan, according to unconfirmed reports.
Turkey viewed the U.S.-led action positively and said it should continue, said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during his visit to New York on Tuesday.
The country recently rescued 46 of its citizens held hostage by ISIS for more than three months.
Turkey, which borders northern Syria has seen a large influx of refugees as Syrian Kurds continue to flee the violence by ISIS.
Thousands of Syrian Kurds, mostly women and children, have been fleeing the ISIS advance and crossing into Turkey, even as pressure mounts on the Turkish government to act against the militant group.
Turkey is worried about Kurdish fighters but also opposed to any action that might help the Assad Regime, reported Reuters.
“We will give the necessary support to the operation. The support could be military or logistics,” Erdogan was quoted by Turkish broadcaster NTV as telling reporters in New York.
“We see Islamic State as an existential threat,” Sami al-Faraj, a Gulf Cooperation Council adviser, said to Reuters. “If we don’t put a stop to it, it will expand into our area.”
Mr. Obama said this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone.
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