Obama: No Plans to Send More Troops Overseas to Fight Islamic State

This undated image posted on Aug. 27, 2014 by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows a fighter of the Islamic State group waving their flag from inside a captured government fighter jet
This undated image posted on Aug. 27, 2014 by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows a fighter of the Islamic State group waving their flag from inside a captured government fighter jet / AP

During live televised remarks at the Pentagon Monday afternoon, President Obama offered the public an update on the "long-term campaign" against the Islamic State terrorist group (IS, also known as ISIL or ISIS).

While Obama acknowledged the group’s gains in Iraq and Syria as "setbacks," he spoke optimistically about the "progress" the United States is seeing after hitting IS with thousands of air strikes.

"ISIL can be pushed back," Obama declared, cautioning that it will "take time to root them out."

The United States will ramp up its efforts against the terror group’s base in Syria, the president explained Monday.

"Our air strikes will continue to target the oil and gas facilities that fund so much of their operations," Obama said. "We're going after the ISIL leadership and infrastructure in Syria, the heart of ISIL that pumps funds and propaganda to people around the world."

Additionally, Obama emphasized the need to counter the "ideology" of IS, particularly that which is spread through social media.

"The United States will continue to do our part by working with partners to counter ISIL's hateful propaganda, especially online," Obama said.

What the campaign against the Islamic State will not involve are more ground troops. When questioned by a reporter about the prospect of putting more boots on the ground in the Middle East, Obama replied that there are "no current plans to do so" and that the subject had not been "discussed."

"It is not enough for us to simply send American troops to temporarily set back organizations like ISIL, but to then, as soon as we leave see that void filled once again with extremists," Obama said. "It is going to be vital for us to make sure that we are preparing the kinds of local ground forces and security forces with our partners that can not only succeed against ISIL, but then sustained in terms of security and in terms of governance."