WASHINGTON D.C. (CNN)- U.S. airstrikes have “successfully destroyed arms and equipment” of ISIS militants in northern Iraq, President Barack Obama said Saturday. But, he added, ultimately it will be up to Iraq to unite and stop the Islamic militant group — and that will be a long-term struggle.
Obama declined to give a timetable for U.S. airstrikes and humanitarian air drops in Iraq, adding that Iraqi security forces need time to revamp, and Iraqi politicians need space to form a more inclusive government that could whittle support for the Sunni Islamic militants who have seized portions of the country. The group has also seized parts of Syria.
“I don’t think we’re going to solve this problem in weeks,” President Barack Obama told reporters, while reiterating that no U.S. combat troops will join the fight. He spoke outside the White House before departing for a vacation on Massachusetts’ Martha’s Vineyard.
Obama’s comments came a day after U.S. fighter jets and drones began bombing what officials described as ISIS artillery units and convoys advancing on the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil.