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The threat from ISIS fighters to the Syrian Kurdish town of Ain al-Arab is an early test of the U.S.-led coalition's patience for a military strategy that at the moment cannot hold ground in Syria. As President Barack Obama met with top brass at the Pentagon Wednesday, his administration sought to set low expectations for what U.S.-led airstrikes could accomplish in Syria's ground war, and acknowledged Ain al-Arab may fall into the clutch of ISIS, which now calls itself the Islamic State, in the days ahead. The Pentagon cautioned that there are limits to what airstrikes can do in Syria before Western-backed, moderate Syrian opposition forces are strong enough to repel them.Getting a U.S.-trained ground force in Syria will take time.The Pentagon says that fits its strategy, which is designed to stop ISIS from using Syria as a "headquarters," a kind of sanctuary to resupply, finance and command troops operating in Iraq.
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