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Top U.S. General Cautions Against Hitting ISIS in Syria

2:43

Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Monday that he would recommend against American airstrikes on ISIS in Syria because there is no evidence that ISIS is involved in “active plotting against the homeland” or Europe.

In remarks to reporters aboard a U.S. military aircraft headed to Afghanistan, Dempsey said: “I can tell you with great clarity and certainty that if that threat existed inside Syria that it would certainly be my strong recommendation that we would deal with it.” Dempsey’s spokesman later issued a statement saying Dempsey “believes that ISIS is a regional threat that will soon become a threat to the United States and Europe.”

As he did last week, Dempsey emphasized that dismantling ISIS must be a multinational effort, with cooperation from Arab countries. Any assault on ISIS, he said, must come “from multiple directions in order to initially disrupt and eventually defeat them. It has to happen with them, much less with us.” A State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, cautioned that the United States is “not looking for approval of the Syrian regime” in defending its interests.

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— Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube