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Obama Says IS On The Defensive

U.S. President Barack Obama says the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria and Iraq had put the extremist group on the defensive, shrinking its territory and targeting its senior leaders.

"ISIL is on the defensive, and we are on the offensive," Obama said on April 13, using another term for the group after meeting with his national security advisers at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency.

"We have momentum, and we intend to keep that momentum," he added.

There have been more than 11,500 air strikes so far against IS targets in Syria and Iraq.

Obama said the U.S. will continue striking IS leaders.

"In the days and weeks ahead we intend to take out more. Every day, ISIL leaders wake up and understand it could be their last," Obama said.

Obama said Washington will continue to assist Iraq and help advance UN-led Syria peace talks.

Obama said ending the five-year civil war in Syria is key to defeating IS.

"As I’ve said repeatedly, the only way to truly destroy ISIL is to end the Syrian civil war that ISIL has exploited," Obama said.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP