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ISIS Crisis

John Kerry: We're not at war with ISIS, per se

Secretary of State John Kerry says that despite a dramatically ramped up campaign against ISIS (also referred to as ISIL) in the Middle East, the U.S. is not at war with the militant group.

"What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counter-terrorism operation," Kerry told CNN. "It's going to go on for some period of time. If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it's a major counterterrorism operation that will have many different moving parts."

Kerry's remark came one day after President Obama announced he would authorize airstrikes in Syria to combat ISIS. Given that the administration began using limited airstrikes solely to protect persecuted religious minorities in Iraq, the decision represented a significant shift in strategy toward deeper military engagement. Obama also said Wednesday that the U.S. would train and arm Syrian rebels to combat ISIS in lieu of sending American combat forces to the front lines.