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Obama: Islamic State 'Can and Will Be Defeated

US President Barack Obama speaks about the US government's hostage policy review in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, June 24, 2015. Obama announced administrative measures to improve coordination and communication with families of hostages, but will continue the stance of not negotiating with terror groups nor paying ransoms. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama acknowledged setbacks in the effort against the Islamic State, the Sunni militant group operating in Iraq and Syria, he said that should not distract from significant progress that's been made.

He said the Islamic State has lost more than a quarter of the area it once held because of U.S.-led efforts.

"This shows why ISIL can and will be defeated," Obama said after meeting with his national security team at the Pentagon.

Obama was joined on stage by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey, Vice Chairman James Winfield, Gen. Lloyd Austin of Central Command, Gen. Joseph Leonard Votel of U.S. Special Operations and Gen. Gen. David Rodriguez of Africom.

"This will not be quick. This is a long term campaign," Obama said. "ISIL is opportunistic and it is nimble. In many places in Syria and Iraq, including urban areas, it has dug in among innocent civilian populations."

The president said the United States is not targeting any faith or background.

"That said, we also have to acknowledge that ISIL has been particularly effective at reaching out to and recruiting vulnerable people around the world, even here in the United States," Obama said.

He later added, "We are fighting terrorists who distort Islam and whose victims are mostly Muslims."

After his remarks, a reporter asked if there is any consideration of adding to the more than 3,000 U.S. troops in Iraq who are training Iraqi security forces.

“There are no current plans to do so,” Obama said.

"We have to develop local security forces that can sustain progress," Obama continued. "If we try to do everything ourselves all across the Middle East and all across North Africa, we’ll be playing whack-a-mole.”

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