U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters on Tuesday that the effort to dismantle the terror group ISIS “is going to be a long-term campaign,” CNN reports.
Obama’s comments were made after a closed meeting with the heads of foreign militaries.
“There will be days of progress and there are going to be periods of setback,” he said, adding that an influx of fighters from outside the region joining ISIS makes it a threat beyond the Middle East and into the U.S.
Defense chiefs from 22 nations fighting ISIS met all day at a secure facility to discuss the current military operations and “the way ahead’ according to a senior U.S. military official.
The full coalition will be needed, according to Obama.
“We are going to have to pay attention to how all the countries in the region begin to cooperate in rooting out this cancer and we are going to have to continue on delivering the humanitarian assistance of all the populations that have been affected,” he said, according to CNN.
The meeting Tuesday was chaired by General Martin Dempsey, U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with General Lloyd Austin, commanding general of the U.S. Central Command which is largely running the operations in both Iraq and Syria.
Obama attended for a portion near the end of the day at Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington, DC. Iraqi military officials were expected to attend. Syrian opposition members were not invited because the meeting is for “sovereign nations” only, the official said.
Classified discussions are expected to take place on the current operations. There was expected, however, to be some discussion of arming and training moderate Syrian opposition forces.
Earlier Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who has been on a visit to Saudi Arabia in the last few days, presented a four-part plan for stopping the advance of ISIS.
Speaking to the Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper, the German minister said the first part of the plan involves a political move in Iraq that will include all of the groups within the country’s populace. Iraqi prime minister Haidar al-Abadi is already working in this direction, said Steinmeier.
In addition, Steinmeier’s plan calls for reaching an understanding with the region’s countries regarding joint action against ISIS, a campaign against the ideology of ISIS and similar groups, and steps on the international level, to block combat fighters and funds from reaching ISIS.
So far, the international coalition against ISIS has been using airstrikes to attack the group’s targets in Iraq and Syria, but those have reportedly been ineffective so far