Corker Calls For Action Against ISIS In A Divided Syria


USAID official Lindborg talks to Syrian refugees in Turkey in 2013. The Syrian Civil War, which started in the spring of 2011, began as opposition groups rebelling against President Bashar al-Assad. But ISIS is a new player that now controls a third of Syria, according to some estimates. Credit: U.S. Department of State

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) calls the militant group ISIS the roughest and most well funded extremist group that the U.S. has ever dealt with.

To stop them, Corker says, the U.S. needs to work in both Iraq and Syria — “using our air assets, drone assets, intelligence assets, to help stabilize and beef up the Iraqi military, but to do the same thing with the Kurds and do the same thing with the vetted moderate opposition within Syria itself,” he says.

“There’s going to have to be a recognition, as we’ve known for some time, that there is no border between Syria and Iraq. ISIS has to be addressed on both sides of the border.”

President Obama authorized sending manned and unmanned surveillance flights over Syria on Monday evening, which could signal that airstrikes are coming.

But fighting in Syria is a complicated situation. There’s the Syrian government, led by Bashar al-Assad; there’s the Syrian opposition and rebels, which are now thought to be pretty weak; and then there’s ISIS, which by some estimates now controls a third of the country. They’ve all been battling each other.

Analysts are debating whether the U.S. would be able to fight ISIS in Syria without becoming a player in the Syrian civil war or working with Assad’s government — both of which President Obama has been eager to avoid.

Corker says he does not support sending over American combat ground troops.

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