Syria: 'Moderate' Rebels Scoff at US Threats Against ISIS
The White House said over the weekend it was ready to "take action" against any threat to America, as it indicated a serious consideration of US military strikes against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Syria.
However, the move has simply drawn scorn from Syrian rebels fighting on the ground against IS terrorists up close.
“Airstrikes against ISIS inside Syria will not be helpful. Airstrikes will not get rid of ISIS. Airstrikes are like just tickling ISIS,” Hussam Al Marie, the spokesman for the "moderate" Free Syrian Army (FSA) in northern Syria, told The Daily Beast Monday.
“ISIS is not a real state that you can attack and destroy; they are thugs who are spread all over the east of Syria in the desert. And when they are in the cities, they are using civilian buildings. So airstrikes will not be enough to get rid of these terrorists and at the same time, they might hit civilians. That’s the problem.”
Obama's pledge to fight IS in Syria follows a campaign of air raids to help regional Kurdish and Iraqi forces fighting IS in the northern Iraq. Last week, the terror group threatened to "drown Americans in blood."
The Sunni Muslim group follows Al-Qaeda's hard-line ideology, but is not affiliated with Al-Qaeda which has renounced IS. It seeks to re-create a medieval-style caliphate erasing borders from the Mediterranean to the Gulf.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said that the IS poses an “imminent threat” to the United States, and may take years to defeat.
And the US may be closer to more definitive action in Syria; a US Defense Department spokesman clarified to Fox News Monday that "any threats against U.S. personnel and interests could drive action against IS in Syria."
However, not everyone agrees with what some have labeled "hysteria" over IS's threat to the US, including Gen. Martin Dempsey.
Dempsey stated Sunday that IS poses less of a threat than other, more "active" groups - including Al Qaeda in Yemen and the Arab Peninsula, which is involved in "active plotting against the homeland."
"I can tell you with great clarity and certainty that if that threat existed inside of Syria that it would certainly be my strong recommendation that we would deal with it," Dempsey said. "I have every confidence that the president of the United States would deal with it."