White House Defends ISIS War: 'This Strategy Is Succeeding'

Abandoned houses in the Syrian city of Kobani after fighting between Syrian Kurds and militants from Islamic State. (Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images)

Despite gains by ISIS in Syria and Iraq in the face of airstrikes, the White House insists President Barack Obama's strategy to "destroy" the terrorist group remains on track.  

"This strategy is succeeding," Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters of the president's fight against ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State. Earnest appeared to minimize the potential takeover of the Kurdish town of Kobani in Syria on the border with Turkey.  

Earnest blamed the lack of ground forces in the fight for the possible plight of Kobani — even as he noted that Obama has ruled out putting American ground forces into the fight . "Of course we don't want the town to fall," Earnest said. "At the same time our capacity to prevent that town from falling are limited ... by the lack of a ground force that can take the fight to ISIL. That ground force doesn't yet exist."  

Earnest said that there have been successes in some battles in Iraq, noting Sinjar Mountain, where ground forces complemented airstrikes by the United States.  

Reports from Kobani show that town facing an ongoing siege while tanks from Turkey stand by and watch from the border.  

ISIS has also reportedly made gains in Anbar Province in Iraq, miles from Baghdad International Airport.  

The expressions of confidence from the White House comes amid an onslaught of criticism from Republicans, including on the campaign trail where many GOP candidates are using the rise of ISIS to attack Democrats and tie them to the president .  

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Topics: iraq isis syria