WASHINGTON (CNN) – Massive explosions in northwestern Syria; activists say these are tunnels full of explosive are being detonated by militants clashes broke out between regime and opposition forces, just the latest in escalating violence across Syria and Iraq.
Around the besieged city of Kobani on the Syria/Turkey border, 21 coalition airstrikes, the largest number of strikes since operations began. Finally stepping up attacks against ISIS positions to protect the town, but the White House still cautioning air strikes can only have so much impact in Kobani.
Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary, said, “That impact is constrained by the fact that there aren’t forces on the ground that can follow up on those air strikes to end that siege.”
Pentagon officials say don’t expect a change in strategy in Syria or Iraq, they long warned U.S. air power could only do so much. According to Chuck Hagel, Defense Secretary, “I also want to emphasize that no one is under any illusions, under any illusions, that airstrikes alone will destroy ISIL.”
Iraq’s Anbar Province, the western approach to Baghdad, may be running out of time. ISIS has surrounded and is preparing to attack al Assad airbase, one of Iraq’s largest, according to security sources.
If they succeed, ISIS will have a new cache of weapons. It comes as General Martin Dempsey holds the largest meeting of the coalition to date; 22 nations sending their military chiefs to Washington to review the war against ISIS.
The U.S. has used apache helicopters and ac-130 gunships at low altitude, to virtually strafe ISIS forces, but ISIS continues to regroup and train for battle.
Raising the question again, is there a solution? Lt. Col. Rick Francona (Ret.), CNN Military Analyst, said, “It is looking more and more like Chairman Dempsey is going to have to go back to the president and ask the president to authorize the introduction of U.S. combat forces into Iraq.”
Airstrikes may never have been the full answer, but the U.S. had expected Iraqi forces to be able to fight. They are not and that is leaving a big question about what to do now.