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Obama tamps down prospect of strikes in Syria

By Julie Pace

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Aug. 28 2014 11:24 p.m. MDT

Updated: Thursday, Aug. 28 2014 11:24 p.m. MDT

President Barack Obama speaks the economy, Iraq, and Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, before convening a meeting with his national security team on the militant threat in Syria and Iraq.

Charles Dharapak, Associated Press

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama played down the prospect of imminent U.S. military action in Syria on Thursday, saying "we don't have a strategy yet" for degrading the violent militant group seeking to establish a caliphate in the Middle East.

Obama said confronting the Islamic State militants requires a regional strategy with support from other states in the region. He said it's time for states in the region to "stop being ambivalent" about the aims of extremist groups like the Islamic State.

"They have no ideology beyond violence and chaos," Obama said.

The U.S. is already striking Islamic State targets in Iraq, and officials have said the president is considering similar action in neighboring Syria. The militants have moved with ease between the two countries, effectively blurring the border.

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