Obama at Pentagon for update on anti-IS campaign

Obama at Pentagon for update on anti-IS campaign
Smoke billows in the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakeh on June 28, 2015, following a reported mortar attack by Islamic State (IS) group.
PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama was to visit the Pentagon on Monday to meet with members of his national security team for an update on the campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

The briefing on US-led efforts to dismantle the jihadist group follows coalition air strikes that hit the Islamic State group's de facto Syrian capital Raqa over the weekend.

Obama was to deliver a statement to the media after his Pentagon briefing.

The announcement of the air strikes came after the IS group released a video showing teenage members executing 25 Syrian soldiers in an amphitheater in the ancient ruins of Palmyra.

More than a year after Islamic State fighters overran much of Iraq, the United States and its allies are struggling to turn the tide against the extremists in an air campaign known as Operation Inherent Resolve.

The average daily cost is $9.2 million and the campaign had cost $2.91 billion as of June 18, according to the Defense Department.

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is due to testify in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday to discuss the campaign, which has come under renewed criticism from US lawmakers.

The Pentagon last month said it was sending 450 additional US troops to act as advisers to help Iraqi forces seize back control of the western city of Ramadi from jihadist fighters.

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