U.S. President Barack Obama praised Middle Eastern allies who assisted in targeted airstrikes against ISIS in the Islamic terrorist group's stronghold in Syria early Tuesday ahead of his trip to the United Nations in New York where he is expected to build support for his global coalition against the terrorists Wednesday.
"I made clear as part of this campaign the United States would take action against targets in both Iraq and Syria so that these terrorists can't find safe haven anywhere. I also made clear that America would act as part of a broad coalition and that's exactly what we've done. We were joined in this action by our friends and partners: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar," Obama said in a televised address to the nation Tuesday morning.
"America is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with these nations on behalf of our common security. The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America's fight alone. Above all, the people and governments in the Middle East are rejecting ISIL and standing up for the peace and security that the people of the region and the world deserve," he added.
A U.S. official told CNN that the airstrikes against ISIS focused on Raqqa, the power base of the terrorist group. The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 20 targets were hit in and around Raqqa.
Obama also highlighted that airstrikes were made against a shadowy group of seasoned al-Qaeda operatives in Syria known as the Khorasan.
"Last night we also took strikes to disrupt plotting against the United States and our allies by seasoned al-Qaeda operatives in Syria who are known as the Khorasan group. Once again 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," he stressed.
Obama emphasized the bipartisan support in Congress for the war against ISIS in highlighting next steps in the move to degrade and ultimately defeat the terrorist group.
"We will move forward with our plan supported by bipartisan majorities in Congress to ramp up our effort to train and equip the Syrian opposition who are the best counterweight to ISIL and the Assad regime," said Obama.
"I've spoken to our leaders in Congress and I'm pleased that there is bipartisan support for the actions we're taking," he continued. "America is always stronger when we stand united and that unity sends a powerful message to the world that we will do what's necessary to defend our country."
He noted that more than 40 nations have so far offered to help in the fight against ISIS through training and equipping Syrian opposition forces on the ground; cutting off funding for the group and stemming the flow of fighters in an out of the region.
Obama then departed for the United Nations in New York City where he is expected to address the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. He will also preside over a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
"Over the next several days I will have the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister [Haider al-] Abadi of Iraq and with friends and allies at the United Nations to continue building support for the coalition that is confronting this serious threat to our peace and security," said Obama.
"The overall effort will take time, there will be challenges ahead but we're gonna do what is necessary to take the fight to this terrorist group for the security of the country and the region and for the entire world. Thanks and God bless our troops and God bless America."