President Obama: 'We are hitting ISIL harder than ever'

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President Obama: ISIS Continues to Lose Territory in Iraq, Syria


President Obama announced Monday he is sending his defense secretary to Iraq to review the ongoing fight against ISIS.

Obama said Ash Carter would head to the war-torn region immediately. And he tried once again to reassure nervous Americans that ISIS would be defeated, saying they are taking out the group's leaders "one by one."

"This continues to be a difficult to fight," Obama said.

But once again Obama offered no new strategy solutions for dealing with ISIS.

"We are hitting ISIL harder than ever," Obama said using an alternative name for the terrorist group. Obama, who was flanked by top military leaders, described the increased number of airstrikes and defeated ISIS leaders.

Obama made brief but public comments from the Pentagon on Monday — remarks aimed at reassuring the American public of his administration's commitment to fighting the rise of ISIS. Polls have shown that Americans have been increasingly concerned about ISIS after the wake of deadly Paris attacks and the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.

"We're going after (ISIS) from their stronghold," Obama said.

RELATED GALLERY: See photos of Obama speaking out on terrorism

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Barack Obama primetime address on terrorism 12/6
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President Obama: 'We are hitting ISIL harder than ever'
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 6: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the country from the Oval Office on December 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. President Obama is addressing the terrorism threat to the United States and the recent attack in San Bernardino, California. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 6: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the country from the Oval Office on December 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. President Obama is addressing the terrorism threat to the United States and the recent attack in San Bernardino, California. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 6: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the country from the Oval Office on December 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. President Obama is addressing the terrorism threat to the United States and the recent attack in San Bernardino, California. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)
IRVING, TEXAS - DECEMBER 06: Bar patrons watch as President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Oval Office on December 6, 2015 at the DFW Airport in Irving, Texas. President Obama spoke about the government's campaign against the terrorist threat, following last week's attack in California. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 06: Jonathan Tovar sits with his grandmother Helen Medina in her house, which was hit by bullets as police engaged in a gun battle with terror suspects on the street in front, as they watch President Barack Obama give a nationally-televised address from the White House about terrorism following the attack on the Inland Regional Center on December 6, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Medina hid in her home as the police killed the terror suspects that attacked the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead and another 21 injured on December 2. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 6: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the country from the Oval Office on December 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. President Obama is addressing the terrorism threat to the United States and the recent attack in San Bernardino, California. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 6: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the country from the Oval Office on December 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. President Obama is addressing the terrorism threat to the United States and the recent attack in San Bernardino, California. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 06: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a national address from the Oval Office of the White House December 6, 2015 in Washington, DC Obama was expected to speak on his plans to battle the threat of terror attacks and defeating ISIL in the wake of last week's attack in San Bernardino, California. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
A bartender at a hotel near the Inland Regional Center watches President Obama speak on TV during the aftermath of a mass shooting that killed 14 people on Sunday, December 6, 2015 in San Bernardino, California, USA. AFP PHOTO/PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP / Patrick T. Fallon (Photo credit should read PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers an address to the nation in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. Obama sought to soothe a nation shaken by the terrorist attack in a California town with assurances that the U.S. is hardening its defenses that were tempered by an acknowledgment that the threat to the country is ever-evolving. Photographer: Saul Loeb/Pool via Bloomberg
President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, Sunday night, Dec. 6, 2016. The president announced no significant shift in U.S. strategy and offered no new policy prescriptions for defeating the Islamic State, underscoring both his confidence in his current approach and the lack of easy options for countering the extremist group. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, Sunday night, Dec. 6, 2016. The president's speech followed Wednesday's shooting in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people and wounded 21. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 06: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a national address from the Oval Office of the White House December 6, 2015 in Washington, DC Obama was expected to speak on his plans to battle the threat of terror attacks and defeating ISIL in the wake of last week's attack in San Bernardino, California. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Obama spoke after the meeting with military and national security leaders at the Pentagon — and after taking months of flak from Republicans for refusing to take a more muscular approach to dealing with ISIS.

The president, who was elected on a promise to extricate the U.S. from the deeply unpopular war in Iraq that his GOP critics wholeheartedly supported, had been reluctant to send American ground forces in to battle the head-chopping fanatics.

But earlier this month, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that the U.S. would deploy 100 to 150 special operations forces that would conduct ground combat raids against ISIS targets in both Syria and Iraq.

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Then, in only his third address to the nation from the Oval Office, Obama tried to reassure Americans unnerved by the San Bernardino slaughter that the U.S. had a handle on the "evolving" threat of terrorism and vowed to destroy ISIS.

But once again, Obama cautioned against a "costly ground war" saying it would serve only as a recruitment tool for ISIS and result in more American deaths.

Predictably, Obama's speech was panned by Donald Trump and the other Republicans running for president. But even some Obama supporters criticized the address saying he offered no new solutions to dealing with ISIS.

More from NBCNews.com:
Special Ops Force to Fight ISIS in Iraq: Defense Secretary Carter
U.S. Sending 450 Military Personnel to Iraq for Ramadi Battle
Defense Secretary: 'We Won't Hesitate to Confront ISIS'

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