President Obama Praises Syria Coalition and Warns Extremists 'Plotting' Against America

Carolyn Kaster/AP

After a night full of U.S. military strikes in Syria, President Obama gave a brief statement Tuesday morning laying out what happened, thanking his coalition partners, and making clear that there will be more to come.

The strikes began late Monday night, aimed primarily at ISIS targets, including individual fighters, training grounds, command and control centers, a finance center, supply trucks, and armored vehicles. Partnering with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, and Qatar, the U.S. launched 14 total strikes on Islamic State targets in Raqqa, Dayr az Zawr, Al Hasakah, and Abu Kamal.

"America is proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these nations on behalf of our common security," Obama said Tuesday of the "broad coalition" of Arab states. "The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America's fight alone."

The president also said the U.S. "will move forward with our plans supported by bipartisan majorities in Congress to ramp up our effort to train and equip the Syrian opposition who are the best counterweight to [ISIS] and the Assad regime."

The U.S. military late Monday also bombed ISIS targets in Iraq, bringing the total number of strikes there to 194 since operations began on Aug. 8.

But the U.S. didn't just go after ISIS Monday night and early Tuesday morning. The U.S. military, acting alone, launched eight strikes on Khorasan Group targets near Aleppo, Syria. U.S. intelligence believes that the group, which is associated with al-Qaida, poses a more serious, direct threat to the U.S. and Europe than ISIS. That group is led by Muhsin al-Fadhli, who is believed to have been close to Osama bin Laden. Khorasan Group has reportedly been working with bomb-makers and trying to recruit Americans and Europeans as a means of acquiring passports.

In a statement released early Tuesday, U.S. Central Command said that the group was planning an imminent attack against U.S. and Western interests, but provided no further details.

"It must be clear to anyone who would plot against America and try to do Americans harm that we will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people," Obama said Tuesday on the strikes on the Khorasan Group, whom he called "seasoned al-Qaida operatives." 

From here, President Obama is off to the United Nations Climate Summit in New York.

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