Fresh from success in Iraq, a Sunni extremist group tried to tighten its hold Wednesday on territory in Syria and crush pockets of resistance on land straddling the border where it has declared the foundation of an Islamic state.
The al Qaeda breakaway group that has seized much of Syria and Iraq has formally declared the establishment of a new Islamic state, demanding allegiance from Muslims worldwide in a move that could further strain relations with other militant groups.
President Barack Obama asked Congress Thursday for $500 million to train and arm vetted members of the Syrian opposition, as the U.S. struggles for a way to stem a civil war that has also fueled the al-Qaida inspired insurgency in neighboring Iraq.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Mideast nations on Wednesday against taking new military action in Iraq that might heighten sectarian divisions, after Syria launched airstrikes across the border and Iran flew surveillance drones over the neighboring country.
The Sunni militant group in Iraq is a force roughly 3,000 strong and includes some Americans, a senior intelligence official told CBS News on Tuesday.
The House Intelligence Committee chairman warns that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are looking to expand its territory across the Middle East, including Israel.
Islamic militants have seized large parts of central Iraq, including its second-largest city Mosul.
In a broad defense of his foreign policy, President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that the U.S. remains the world’s most indispensable nation, even after a “long season of war,” but argued for restraint before embarking on more military adventures.
A Virginia state senator has sent a letter praising Syrian President Bashar Assad.
As the nation emerges from more than a decade of war, President Barack Obama is seeking to recast U.S. foreign policy as an endeavor aimed at building international consensus and avoiding unilateral overreach.