President Barack Obama’s strategy of using airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists attempting to take control of Iraq isn’t likely to weaken the overall capabilities of the sophisticated terror group, a top Pentagon official said Monday.
U.S. airstrikes on ISIS positions have been ongoing since last Friday. Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville told reporters assembled for a Monday afternoon Pentagon briefing that the strikes had only temporarily disrupted ISIS advances toward the Kurdish city of Erbil.
Mayville warned, however, that ISIS remains dedicated to its mission of gaining ground throughout Iraq and “will sustain its attacks against Iraqi and Kurdish security forces and their positions, as well as target Yazidis, Christians and other minorities” despite the airstrikes.
According to the Pentagon official, the U.S. currently has no plans to expand operations beyond ending the siege of Mt. Sinjar and protecting U.S. interests in Erbil.
Mayville deemed the U.S. bombing campaign as a temporary solution, but noted that it has helped give Kurdish Peshmerga fighters time to regroup against ISIS.
“U.S. airstrikes are … providing the Kurdish security forces with time to fortify their defensive positions with the supplies they’re receiving from the central government of Baghdad,” he said.
“As a result, the Kurdish security forces are holding territory in the vicinity of Erbil, and it has been reported in the media they retook key communities near Erbil itself.”
The U.S. is currently making provisions to provide the Kurdish forces with more weaponry.
Meanwhile, Mayville said that he expects ISIS to refocus its efforts on other areas of Iraq. He added that the terrorists are already making efforts to blend in with civilians to thwart future U.S. strikes.
“The targeting in this is going to become more difficult,” he said.