Joint chiefs chair: 'No safe haven' for militants

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Joint chiefs chair: 'No safe haven' for militants
IDLIB, SYRIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Syrians inspect the rubble of destroyed houses following the U.S.-led coalition's airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on a residential area in Idlib, Syria on September 23, 2014. (Photo by Ahmed Hasan Ubeyd/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
IDLIB, SYRIA - SEPTEMBER 23: A Syrian youth walks past the wreckage of a vehicle following the U.S.-led coalition's airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on a residential area in Idlib, Syria on September 23, 2014. (Photo by Ahmed Hasan Ubeyd/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
IDLIB, SYRIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Syrians collect remains from the rubble of a destroyed house following the U.S.-led coalition's airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on a residential area in Idlib, Syria on September 23, 2014. (Photo by Ahmed Hasan Ubeyd/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FILE- In this file photo released by the U.S. Navy on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, A-18C Hornet, attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87, prepares to launch from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) to conduct strike missions against Islamic State group targets, in the Arabian Gulf. Arab countries’ prominent role in initial airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria shatters the notion of what a typical American-led military operation looks like and won the Mideast allies' praise from U.S. President Barack Obama for their willingness to stand “shoulder-to-shoulder" with the United States. (AP Photo/Robert Burck, U.S. Navy-file)
In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) launches Tomahawk cruise missiles, in the Arabian Gulf, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. Syria said Tuesday that Washington informed President Bashar Assad's government of imminent U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group, hours before an American-led military coalition pounded the extremists' strongholds across northern and eastern Syria. (AP Photo/Carlos M. Vazquez II, U.S. Navy)
In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, sailors stand watch on the bridge while Tomahawk cruise missiles are launched aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), in the Arabian Gulf, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. Syria said Tuesday that Washington informed President Bashar Assad's government of imminent U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group, hours before an American-led military coalition pounded the extremists' strongholds across northern and eastern Syria. (AP Photo/Abe McNatt, U.S. Navy)
This photo provided by an anti-Bashar Assad activist group Edlib News Network (ENN), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows parts of a missile that activists say was fired by coalition airstrikes, in the village of Kfar Derian, a base for the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, a rival of the Islamic State group, between the northern province of Aleppo and Idlib, Syria, Tuesday Sept. 23, 2014. Syria said Tuesday that Washington informed President Bashar Assad's government of imminent U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group, hours before an American-led military coalition pounded the extremists' strongholds across northern and eastern Syria. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
This photo provided by an anti-Bashar Assad activist group Edlib News Network (ENN), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian boy, left, looking at a destroyed car that activists say was targeted by the coalition airstrikes, in the village of Kfar Derian, a base for the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, a rival of the Islamic State group, between the northern province of Aleppo and Idlib, Syria, Tuesday Sept. 23, 2014. Syria said Tuesday that Washington informed President Bashar Assad's government of imminent U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group, hours before an American-led military coalition pounded the extremists' strongholds across northern and eastern Syria. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
This photo provided by an anti-Bashar Assad activist group Edlib News Network (ENN), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrian citizens checking a damaged house that they say was targeted by the coalition airstrikes, in the village of Kfar Derian, a base for the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, a rival of the Islamic State group, between the northern province of Aleppo and Idlib, Syria, Tuesday Sept. 23, 2014. Syria said Tuesday that Washington informed President Bashar Assad's government of imminent U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group, hours before an American-led military coalition pounded the extremists' strongholds across northern and eastern Syria. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
This photo provided by an anti-Bashar Assad activist group Edlib News Network (ENN), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrian citizens checking a damaged house that they say was targeted by the coalition airstrikes, in the village of Kfar Derian, a base for the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, a rival of the Islamic State group, between the northern province of Aleppo and Idlib, Syria, Tuesday Sept. 23, 2014. Syria said Tuesday that Washington informed President Bashar Assad's government of imminent U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group, hours before an American-led military coalition pounded the extremists' strongholds across northern and eastern Syria. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
This photo provided by an anti-Bashar Assad activist group Edlib News Network (ENN), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, show according to them Syrian citizens check a damaged house that targeted by the coalition airstrikes, in the village of Kfar Derian, a base for the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, a rival of the Islamic State group, between the northern province of Aleppo and Idlib, Syria, Tuesday Sept. 23, 2014. Syria said Tuesday that Washington informed President Bashar Assad's government of imminent U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group, hours before an American-led military coalition pounded the extremists' strongholds across northern and eastern Syria. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
This still image from video released by the U.S. Central Command on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, shows a pilot in a KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft in mid-air in an unknown area of Syria. In three waves of nighttime attacks launched over four hours early on Tuesday, the U.S. and its Arab partners made more than 200 airstrikes against roughly a dozen militant targets in Syria. They included the Islamic State group headquarters, training camps and barracks, and targets of the rival Nusra Front, al-Qaida's branch within Syria. (AP Photo/US Central Command)
In this image provided by the U.S. Navy a F/A-18F Super Hornet attached to the Fighting Black Lions of Strike Fighter Squadron flies over the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, after conducting strike missions against Islamic State group targets in Syria. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Stephens)
This still image made from video released by the U.S. Central Command on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, shows a structure in Tall Al Qitar, Syria moments after a U.S. airstrike. In three waves of nighttime attacks launched over four hours early on Tuesday, the U.S. and its Arab partners made more than 200 airstrikes against roughly a dozen militant targets in Syria. (AP Photo/US Central Command)
This still image made from video released by the U.S. Central Command on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, shows a structure in Tall Al Qitar, Syria moments after a U.S. airstrike. In three waves of nighttime attacks launched over four hours early on Tuesday, the U.S. and its Arab partners made more than 200 airstrikes against roughly a dozen militant targets in Syria. (AP Photo/US Central Command)
This still image made from video released by the U.S. Central Command on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, shows a structure in Tall Al Qitar, Syria moments after a U.S. airstrike. In three waves of nighttime attacks launched over four hours early on Tuesday, the U.S. and its Arab partners made more than 200 airstrikes against roughly a dozen militant targets in Syria. (AP Photo/US Central Command)
This photo provided by an anti-Bashar Assad activist group Edlib News Network (ENN), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrian citizens checking a damaged house that they say was targeted by the coalition airstrikes, in the village of Kfar Derian, a base for the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, a rival of the Islamic State group, between the northern province of Aleppo and Idlib, Syria, Tuesday Sept. 23, 2014. Syria said Tuesday that Washington informed President Bashar Assad's government of imminent U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group, hours before an American-led military coalition pounded the extremists' strongholds across northern and eastern Syria. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea launches a Tomahawk cruise missile at Islamic State group positions in Syria as seen from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush on the Arabian Gulf on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. Syria said Tuesday that Washington informed President Bashar Assad's government of imminent U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group, hours before an American-led military coalition pounded the extremists' strongholds across northern and eastern Syria.(AP Photo/Eric Garst, U.S. Navy)
In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea launches a Tomahawk cruise missile at Islamic State group positions in Syria as seen from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Arabian Gulf on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. Syria said Tuesday that Washington informed President Bashar Assad's government of imminent U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group, hours before an American-led military coalition pounded the extremists' strongholds across northern and eastern Syria.(AP Photo/Eric Garst, U.S. Navy)
This photo provided by an anti-Bashar Assad activist group Edlib News Network (ENN), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows parts of a missile that activists say was fired by coalition airstrikes, in the village of Kfar Derian, a base for the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, a rival of the Islamic State group, between the northern province of Aleppo and Idlib, Syria, Tuesday Sept. 23, 2014. Syria said Tuesday that Washington informed President Bashar Assad's government of imminent U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group, hours before an American-led military coalition pounded the extremists' strongholds across northern and eastern Syria. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
Graphic shows five Arab countries that conducted airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria; 1c x 3 inches; 46.5 mm x 76 mm;
Anti-war activists hold placards during a rally denouncing US' air strike on Syria and Iraq, near the US embassy in Seoul on September 15, 2014. 'All bases are covered' in a US-led multinational coalition against the Islamic State, John Kerry said, as Washington rallies diplomatic and public support to smash the jihadists. AFP PHOTO / JUNG YEON-JE (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 11, 2014 file photo, F/A-18 fighter jets take off for mission in Iraq from the flight deck of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, in the Persian Gulf. U.S. military officials said American fighter aircraft struck and destroyed several vehicles a day earlier that were part of an Islamic State group convoy moving to attack Kurdish forces defending the northeastern Iraqi city of Irbil. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
A U.S. sailor checks missiles attached to a military jet being prepared aboard the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. U.S. military officials said American fighter aircraft struck and destroyed several vehicles Sunday that were part of an Islamic State group convoy moving to attack Kurdish forces defending the northeastern Iraqi city of Irbil. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
A U.S. F/A-18 fighter jet takes off for Iraq from the flight deck of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. U.S. military officials said American fighter aircraft struck and destroyed several vehicles Sunday that were part of an Islamic State group convoy moving to attack Kurdish forces defending the northeastern Iraqi city of Irbil. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
A U.S. F/A-18 fighter jet takes off for Iraq from the flight deck of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, in the Persian Gulf, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. U.S. military officials say American fighter aircraft struck and destroyed several vehicles Sunday that were part of an Islamic State group convoy moving to attack Kurdish forces defending the northeastern Iraqi city of Irbil. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
U.S. F/A-18 fighter jets take off for mission in Iraq from the flight deck of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, in the Persian Gulf, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. U.S. military officials said American fighter aircraft struck and destroyed several vehicles Sunday that were part of an Islamic State group convoy moving to attack Kurdish forces defending the northeastern Iraqi city of Irbil. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
U.S. F/A-18 fighter jets prepare to take off for Iraq from the flight deck of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. U.S. military officials said American fighter aircraft struck and destroyed several vehicles Sunday that were part of an Islamic State group convoy moving to attack Kurdish forces defending the northeastern Iraqi city of Irbil. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
U.S. F/A-18 fighter jets prepare for take off for Iraq from the flight deck of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. U.S. military officials said American fighter aircraft struck and destroyed several vehicles Sunday that were part of an Islamic State group convoy moving to attack Kurdish forces defending the northeastern Iraqi city of Irbil. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
FILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, file photo, a fighter jet coming from Iraq lands on the flight deck of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, in the Persian Gulf. As the United States looks to stitch together a coalition to tackle the extremist Islamic State group, the Obama administration will have to overcome the reluctance of Mideast allies who are deeply frustrated with a White House that they believe has been naive, fickle and weak on Syria’s civil war. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)
SALADIN, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 1: Locals celebrate after Iraqi forces have freed the northern town of Amirli which had been under the siege of Islamic State militants for over two months in Saladin ,Iraq on September 1, 2014. Supported by Kurdish forces and Shiite militias, the Iraqi army launched an offensive shortly after the U.S. carried out airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) positions near the town, and dropped aid for the nearly 20,000 Shiite Turkmen trapped in Amirli. The government forces and Kurdish peshmerga forces have been fighting against the militant group to block their advance. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 1: A Shiite militant is seen after Iraqi forces have freed the northern town of Amirli which had been under the siege of Islamic State militants for over two months in Saladin ,Iraq on September 1, 2014. Supported by Kurdish forces and Shiite militias, the Iraqi army launched an offensive shortly after the U.S. carried out airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) positions near the town, and dropped aid for the nearly 20,000 Shiite Turkmen trapped in Amirli. The government forces and Kurdish peshmerga forces have been fighting against the militant group to block their advance. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KHAZIR FRONTLINE, KRG, IRAQ - 2014/08/26: Candid portrait of a young Peshmerga soldier at the Kazhir Frontline. Khazir refugee camp is located outside Kalak, a town halfway on the road between Erbil and Mosul. It was overrun by ISIS militants on the 7th of August following an unprecedented push of the Caliphate into Kurdish territory. Its thousands of Iraqi and Arab refugees were forced to flee again as the now deserted camp has become the new frontline between the Peshmerga and ISIS. It is the theatre of frequent U.S. airstrikes that have helped halt the ISIS advance into a stalemate situation. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - AUGUST 31: An Iraqi armed soldier flashes victory sign after Iraqi forces have entered the northern town of Amirli which had been under the siege of Islamic State militants for over two months in Saladin ,Iraq on August 31, 2014. Supported by Kurdish forces and Shiite militias, the Iraqi army launched an offensive shortly after the U.S. carried out airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) positions near the town, and dropped aid for the nearly 20,000 Shiite Turkmen trapped in Amirli. The government forces and Kurdish peshmerga forces have been fighting against the militant group to block their advance. (Stringer - Anadolu Agency)
KHAZIR FRONTLINE, KRG, IRAQ - 2014/08/26: A Peshmerga soldier makes a victory sign on top of a bunker at the Khazir Frontline. Khazir refugee camp is located outside Kalak, a town halfway on the road between Erbil and Mosul. It was overrun by ISIS militants on the 7th of August following an unprecedented push of the Caliphate into Kurdish territory. Its thousands of Iraqi and Arab refugees were forced to flee again as the now deserted camp has become the new frontline between the Peshmerga and ISIS. It is the theatre of frequent U.S. airstrikes that have helped halt the ISIS advance into a stalemate situation. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
KHAZIR FRONTLINE, KRG, IRAQ - 2014/08/26: Overview of the Kazhir Frontline where a Russian-made T55 tank is positioned facing toward ISIS lines, a few kilometers away. Khazir refugee camp is located outside Kalak, a town halfway on the road between Erbil and Mosul. It was overrun by ISIS militants on the 7th of August following an unprecedented push of the Caliphate into Kurdish territory. Its thousands of Iraqi and Arab refugees were forced to flee again as the now deserted camp has become the new frontline between the Peshmerga and ISIS. It is the theatre of frequent U.S. airstrikes that have helped halt the ISIS advance into a stalemate situation. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
KHAZIR FRONTLINE, KRG, IRAQ - 2014/08/26: An American Humvee is potionned on the Khazir Frontline. It was captured from ISIS militants by Peshmerga soldiers. Khazir refugee camp is located outside Kalak, a town halfway on the road between Erbil and Mosul. It was overrun by ISIS militants on the 7th of August following an unprecedented push of the Caliphate into Kurdish territory. Its thousands of Iraqi and Arab refugees were forced to flee again as the now deserted camp has become the new frontline between the Peshmerga and ISIS. It is the theatre of frequent U.S. airstrikes that have helped halt the ISIS advance into a stalemate situation. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - AUGUST 31: The Hezbollah flag waving after Iraqi forces have entered the northern town of Amirli which had been under the siege of Islamic State militants for over two months in Saladin ,Iraq on August 31, 2014. Supported by Kurdish forces and Shiite militias, the Iraqi army launched an offensive shortly after the U.S. carried out airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) positions near the town, and dropped aid for the nearly 20,000 Shiite Turkmen trapped in Amirli. The government forces and Kurdish peshmerga forces have been fighting against the militant group to block their advance. (Stringer - Anadolu Agency)
SALADIN, IRAQ - AUGUST 31: Iraqi armed forces have entered the northern town of Amirli which had been under the siege of Islamic State militants for over two months in Saladin ,Iraq on August 31, 2014. Supported by Kurdish forces and Shiite militias, the Iraqi army launched an offensive shortly after the U.S. carried out airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) positions near the town, and dropped aid for the nearly 20,000 Shiite Turkmen trapped in Amirli. The government forces and Kurdish peshmerga forces have been fighting against the militant group to block their advance. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 1: A Shiite militant makes victory sign as he stands guard after Iraqi forces have entered the northern town of Amirli which had been under the siege of Islamic State militants for over two months in Saladin ,Iraq on September1, 2014. Supported by Kurdish forces and Shiite militias, the Iraqi army launched an offensive shortly after the U.S. carried out airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) positions near the town, and dropped aid for the nearly 20,000 Shiite Turkmen trapped in Amirli. The government forces and Kurdish peshmerga forces have been fighting against the militant group to block their advance. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
An F/A-18C Hornet coming from Iraq lands on the flight deck of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014 in the Persian Gulf. Aircrafts aboard the George H.W. Bush are flying missions over Iraq after U.S. President Barack Obama authorized airstrikes against Islamic militants and food drops for Iraqis trapped by the fighters. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
In this Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014 photo, Palestinians stand on the rubble of the Al-Qassam mosque that was hit by an Israeli airstrike in the Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip. Israel has hit and destroyed 63 mosques in Gaza in its month-old war with Hamas, Palestinian officials say. The reason, Israel says, is that Hamas is using mosques to stockpile weapons and rocket launchers and hide tunnels. Gaza’s Hamas rulers deny the accusations. But in its determination to go after what it says are militant arsenals, Israel is throwing aside any reluctance it had in the past to hit religious sites for fear of a diplomatic backlash. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
An Iraqi Yazidi man visits the holy Lalish temple in the Mountains of Shikhan, Iraq, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama authorized airstrikes to protect U.S. interests and personnel in the region, including at facilities in Irbil, as well as helping the Kurdish-speaking ethno-religious group Yazidi refugees who are fleeing from Islamic militants. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
Displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community settle near the holy Lalish temple in the Mountains of Shikhan near Dahuk, 260 miles (430 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. President Barack Obama authorized the airstrikes to protect U.S. interests and personnel in the region, including at facilities in Irbil, as well as Yazidi refugees fleeing militants. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
Displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community settle near the holy Lalish temple in the Mountains of Shikhan near Dahuk, 260 miles (430 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. President Barack Obama authorized the airstrikes to protect U.S. interests and personnel in the region, including at facilities in Irbil, as well as Yazidi refugees fleeing militants. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take cover during airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants near the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. Iraqi Air Force has been carrying out strikes against the militants, and for the first time on Friday, U.S. war planes have directly targeted the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters react during airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants near the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. Iraqi Air Force has been carrying out strikes against the militants, and for the first time on Friday, U.S. war planes have directly targeted the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take cover during airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants near the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. Iraqi Air Force has been carrying out strikes against the militants, and for the first time on Friday, U.S. war planes have directly targeted the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
Smoke rises after airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants near the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. Iraqi Air Force has been carrying out strikes against the militants, and for the first time on Friday, U.S. war planes have directly targeted the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters stand guard as smoke rises after airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants near the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. Iraqi Air Force has been carrying out strikes against the militants, and for the first time on Friday, U.S. war planes have directly targeted the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters stand guard during airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants at the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. Iraqi Air Force has been carrying out strikes against the militants, and for the first time on Friday, U.S. war planes have directly targeted the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters stand guard during airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants at the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. Iraqi Air Force has been carrying out strikes against the militants, and for the first time on Friday, U.S. war planes have directly targeted the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters detain a man suspected as a militant for the Islamic State group, as airstrikes target militants near the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. The Iraqi Air Force has been carrying out strikes against the militants, and for the first time on Friday, U.S. war planes have directly targeted the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq.(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters stand guard during airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants at the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. Iraqi Air Force has been carrying out strikes against the militants, and for the first time on Friday, U.S. war planes have directly targeted the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters stand guard during airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants at the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. Iraqi Air Force has been carrying out strikes against the militants, and for the first time on Friday, U.S. war planes have directly targeted the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
Smoke rises from airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants near the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. The Iraqi Air Force has been carrying out strikes against the militants, and for the first time on Friday, U.S. war planes have directly targeted the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq.(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
This image made from AP video shows smoke rising from airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants near the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. The Iraqi Air Force has been carrying out strikes against the militants, and for the first time on Friday, U.S. war planes have directly targeted the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq.(AP Photo via AP video)
Smoke rises from airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants near the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. Iraqi Air Force has been carrying out strikes against the militants, and for the first time on Friday, U.S. war planes have directly targeted the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq.(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
An armored vehicle belonging to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters rushes to a bombing site as smoke rises after airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants near the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. The Iraqi Air Force has been carrying out strikes against the militants, and for the first time on Friday, U.S. war planes have directly targeted the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq.(AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
President Barack Obama approaches the podium to speak about the situation in Iraq in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Obama says he has authorized the U.S. military to launch targeted airstrikes if Islamic militants advance toward American personnel in northern Iraq. He also has announced that the military carried out airdrops of humanitarian aid Thursday to Iraqi religious minorities threatened by the extremists. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama arrives to speak about the situation in Iraq in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Obama says he has authorized the U.S. military to launch targeted airstrikes if Islamic militants advance toward American personnel in northern Iraq. He also has announced that the military carried out airdrops of humanitarian aid Thursday to Iraqi religious minorities threatened by the extremists. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Iraq in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Obama says he has authorized the U.S. military to launch targeted airstrikes if Islamic militants advance toward American personnel in northern Iraq. He also has announced that the military carried out airdrops of humanitarian aid Thursday to Iraqi religious minorities threatened by the extremists.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Iraq in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Obama says he has authorized the U.S. military to launch targeted airstrikes if Islamic militants advance toward American personnel in northern Iraq. He also has announced that the military carried out airdrops of humanitarian aid Thursday to Iraqi religious minorities threatened by the extremists.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Iraq in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Obama says he's authorized the U.S. military to carry out airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic militants if they advance toward the city of Erbil. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama leaves the podium after speaking about the situation in Iraq in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Obama says he's authorized the U.S. military to carry out airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic militants if they advance toward the city of Erbil.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Iraq in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Obama says he's authorized the U.S. military to carry out airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic militants if they advance toward the city of Erbil. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Civilians inspect damages the morning after a string of car bombs tore through busy shopping streets in several neighborhoods in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. At least 50 people were killed on Wednesday as the army announced that one of its airstrikes had killed tens of militants in the northern city of Mosul. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
In this Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014 photo, a Palestinian boy walks amid the rubble of the Al-Qassam Mosque that was hit by an Israeli airstrike, in the Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip. Israel has hit and destroyed 63 mosques in Gaza in its month-old war with Hamas, Palestinian officials say. The reason, Israel says, is that Hamas is using mosques to stockpile weapons and rocket launchers and hide tunnels. Gaza’s Hamas rulers deny the accusations. But in its determination to go after what it says are militant arsenals, Israel is throwing aside any reluctance it had in the past to hit religious sites for fear of a diplomatic backlash. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Iraqi civilians gather the morning after a string of car bombs tore through busy shopping streets in several neighborhoods in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. At least 50 people were killed as the army announced that one of its airstrikes had killed tens of militants in the northern city of Mosul. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
An Iraqi retrieves items from a destroyed shop the morning after a string of car bombs tore through busy shopping streets in several neighborhoods in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. At least 50 people were killed on Wednesday as the army announced that one of its airstrikes had killed tens of militants in the northern city of Mosul. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Civilians inspect damages the morning after a string of car bombs tore through busy shopping streets in several neighborhoods in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. At least 50 people were killed on Wednesday as the army announced that one of its airstrikes had killed tens of militants in the northern city of Mosul. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Civilians inspect damages the morning after a string of car bombs tore through busy shopping streets in several neighborhoods in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. At least 50 people were killed on Wednesday as the army announced that one of its airstrikes had killed tens of militants in the northern city of Mosul. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
An Iraqi man salvages what he can from his destroyed shop the morning after a string of car bombs tore through busy shopping streets in several neighborhoods in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. At least 50 people were killed on Wednesday as the army announced that one of its airstrikes had killed tens of militants in the northern city of Mosul. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Iraqi municipality workers clean streets the morning after a string of car bombs tore through busy shopping streets in several neighborhoods in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. At least 50 people were killed on Wednesday as the army announced that one of its airstrikes had killed tens of militants in the northern city of Mosul. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Iraqis drive their vehicles past damaged buildings in the aftermath of a Saturday, June 28 Iraqi government airstrike in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, June 29, 2014. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant which already controls vast swaths in northern and eastern Syria amid the chaos of that nation's civil war, aims to erase the borders of the modern Middle East and impose its strict brand of Shariah law. (AP Photo)
In this photo taken Tuesday, June 24, 2014, plain-clothed Iraqi security forces members line up to enter al-Nakeeb mosque to declare "repentance" after al-Qaida-inspired insurgents ordered them to do so if they wish not to be killed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Two weeks has passed since the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant took over the country's second largest city. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Mideast nations on Wednesday against taking new military action in Iraq that might heighten already-tense sectarian divisions, as reports surfaced that Syria launched airstrikes across the border and Iran has been flying surveillance drones over the neighboring country. (AP Photo)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - JUNE 04: Syrians inspect a building collapsed in an air strike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in the opposition controlled Al-Ansari neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria on June 04, 2014. More than 100,000 people have been killed during the ongoing three-year conflict in Syria, which has also internally displaced more than 6.5 million people, according to the U.N. Over two million Syrians are now registered as refugees in neighboring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. (Photo by Salih Mahmud Leyla/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2014, file photo U.S. President Barack Obama looks around during a flypast at the NATO summit in Newport, Wales. Obama will begin this week to lay out a strategy to defeat Islamic State militants in the Middle East, starting with a White House meeting with bipartisan congressional leaders on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 and a speech on Wednesday, the eve of the 13th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. (AP Photo/Jon Super, File)
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BY LOLITA C. BALDOR AND ROBERT BURNS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Combined U.S.-Arab airstrikes at the heart of the Islamic State group's military strongholds in Syria achieved their strategic aim of showing the extremists that their savage attacks will not go unanswered, the top American military officer said Tuesday.

The U.S. and five Arab nations attacked the Islamic State group's headquarters in eastern Syria in nighttime raids Monday using land- and sea-based U.S. aircraft as well as Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from two Navy ships in the Red Sea and the northern Persian Gulf.

"We wanted to make sure that ISIL knew they have no safe haven, and we certainly achieved that," Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview with a small group of reporters as he flew to Washington after a weeklong trip to Europe. ISIL is an alternate acronym for the Islamic State group whose fighters swept across much of Iraq this summer.

U.S. officials said five Arab nations either participated in the airstrikes or provided unspecified support. They were Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. Dempsey said their role was indispensable to the U.S. goal of showing that the battle to degrade and defeat the Islamic State group is not just a U.S. fight.

"I can't overstate" the importance of the Arab role, he said. He called it an unprecedented coalition with Arab states and said the partnering has set the stage for a broader international campaign against the extremists.

Dempsey said the five Arab nations' agreement to join in the airstrikes came together quickly; as recently as Sunday he told reporters that more Arab participation was needed before President Barack Obama would sign off on the strategic air campaign.

"Once we had one of them on board, the others followed quickly thereafter," he said, adding that the partnership came together over the past three days. "We now have a kind of credible campaign against ISIL that includes a coalition of partners."

Several hours after the Pentagon announced the airstrikes against Islamic State targets, U.S. Central Command said American warplanes also launched eight airstrikes "to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests" by a network of "seasoned al-Qaida veterans" - sometimes known as the Khorasan Group - who have established a haven in Syria. It provided no details on the plotting.

Central Command said that separate bombing mission was undertaken solely by U.S. aircraft and took place west of the Syrian city of Aleppo. It said targets included training camps, an explosives and munitions production facility, a communication building and command and control facilities.

The airstrikes against Islamic State targets were carried out in the city of Raqqa and other areas in eastern Syria. The strikes were part of the expanded military campaign that Obama authorized nearly two weeks ago in order to disrupt and destroy the Islamic State militants, who have slaughtered thousands of people, beheaded Westerners - including two American journalists - and captured large swaths of Syria and northern and western Iraq.

The airstrikes began around 8:30 p.m. EDT. Central Command said the U.S. fired 47 Tomahawk cruise missiles from aboard the USS Arleigh Burke and USS Philippine Sea, operating from international waters in the Red Sea and the northern Persian Gulf. U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps fighter jets, drones and bombers also participated.

Syria's Foreign Ministry said the U.S. informed Syria's envoy to the U.N. that "strikes will be launched against the terrorist Daesh group in Raqqa." The statement used an Arabic name to refer to the Islamic State group.

At a conference on Sept. 11 with Secretary of State John Kerry, key Arab allies promised they would "do their share" to fight the Islamic State militants. The Obama administration, which at a NATO meeting in Wales earlier this month also got commitments from European allies as well as Canada and Australia, has insisted that the fight against the Islamic State militants could not be the United States' fight alone.


U.S. Begins Airstrikes on Syrian ISIS Targets

Russia's foreign ministry warned Tuesday that what it called "unilateral" air strikes would destabilize the region. "The fight against terrorists in the Middle East and northern Africa requires coordinated efforts of the entire global community under the auspices of the U.N.," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Activists said the airstrikes hit targets in and around the Syrian city of Raqqa and the province with the same name. Raqqa is the Islamic State group's self-declared capital in Syria.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told The Associated Press, "There is confirmed information that there are casualties among Islamic State group members."

He added that missiles also targeted the towns of Tabqa, Ein Issa and Tel Abyad, as well as the village of Kfar Derian, which is a base for the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, a rival of the Islamic State group.

Another activist, Mohammed al-Dughaim, based in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, confirmed that several airstrikes hit Kfar Derian in the early hours of Tuesday. He said there were civilians among the casualties.

An amateur video posted online Tuesday shows explosions going off at night in an open area, blasts that are said to be from coalition airstrikes. The narrator in the video is heard saying that the footage shows the "bombardment of the Kfar Derian village."

The head of the main Western-backed Syrian opposition group, Hadi Bahra, welcomed the commencement of airstrikes in Syria.

"We have called for airstrikes such as those that commenced tonight with a heavy heart and deep concern, as these strikes begin in our own homeland," he said in a statement. "We insist that utmost care is taken to avoid civilian casualties."

Dempsey repeatedly stressed the importance of having Arab participation and said it needs to extend beyond direct military roles to assisting in an international effort to undercut finances, recruiting and ideological support for the Islamic State group.

"What we're talking about now is the beginning of an air campaign," he said, adding that it must lead to what he called "the other air campaign" - an effort to fill public airwaves across the Muslim world with arguments for why the extremists must be defeated.

"These leaders now need to - and will - take on the responsibility to explain to the populace of the Arab-Muslim world why we're doing what we're doing so that we can strip away the cloak of religious legitimacy that ISIL has wrapped itself in," he said.

In a speech Sept. 10, Obama vowed to go after the Islamic State militants wherever they may be. His military and defense leaders told Congress last week that airstrikes within Syria are meant to disrupt the group's momentum and provide time for the U.S. and allies to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels.

The U.S. military has been launching targeted airstrikes in Iraq since August, focusing specifically on attacks to protect U.S. interests and personnel, assist Iraqi refugees and secure critical infrastructure. Last week, as part of the newly expanded campaign, the U.S. began going after militant targets across Iraq, including enemy fighters, outposts, equipment and weapons.

To date, U.S. fighter aircraft, bombers and drones have launched about 190 airstrikes within Iraq.

Urged on by the White House and U.S. defense and military officials, Congress passed legislation late last week authorizing the military to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels. Obama signed the bill into law Friday, providing $500 million for the U.S. to train about 5,000 rebels over the next year.

The militant group, meanwhile, has threatened retribution. Its spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, said in a 42-minute audio statement released Sunday that the fighters were ready to battle the U.S.-led military coalition and called for attacks at home and abroad.

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Burns reported from aboard a U.S. military aircraft. Associated Press writers Zeina Karam, Julie Pace and Matthew Lee in New York, Josh Lederman in Washington and Bassem Mroue in Beirut contributed to this report.

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