9:44 pm - Thursday January 17, 2019

More IS Targets Hit in Syria

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A monitoring group said U.S.-led airstrikes have hit Islamic State militant sites in at least two Syrian provinces overnight.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday the strikes targeted jihadist sites in Aleppo and Raqqa.

U.S. warplanes supported by Arab allies began a series of air attacks in Syria last Tuesday to along with strikes that began last month in neighboring Iraq. Airstrikes in Iraq have helped Iraqi and Kurdish forces gain ground against the militants.

Islamic State militants have taken control of wide swaths of territory in both countries this year.

President Barack Obama said earlier that the United States “underestimated” the rise of Islamic State and other Syria-based militants, and “overestimated” Iraq’s ability to fight them.

Obama told CBS television’s 60 Minutes Sunday it is a myth that if the United States had armed the moderate Syrian rebels two years ago, as some in Washington urged, Syria would be fine today.

The president blamed the situation in Iraq, in part, on former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. Obama said the prime minister squandered an opportunity to unify the country.

The U.S. leader said Maliki was suspicious of Sunnis and Kurds, and more interested in consolidating his Shi’ite support than putting together a unity government.

Obama said Syrians, Iraqis and others in the region must think about what political accommodation means. He said young men who only think about whether they are Sunnis or Shi’ites should instead be concerned about getting an education and a good job.

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