As the battle for control of the city of Kobani continues, Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, warned of dire consequences Monday if the Islamic State succeeds in securing a foothold in the Syrian border city.
“If they succeed in Kobani, it will completely demoralize our ability to rally any sort of forces on the ground to confront them,” Mr. Rubio said on Fox News. “That’s when people strip off their uniforms, they abandon ship, they abandon their post. It has a psychological impact.”
U.S.-led coalition airstrikes have hit areas near Kobani as part of the strategy in Iraq and Syria to degrade and destroy the Islamic State, but the Obama administration has said the long-term mission is going to take time and can’t be judged by what happens in a particular area.
But Mr. Rubio said indications that targeted airstrikes aren’t working would send a bad message to would-be allies on the ground in Iraq.
“Now you’re thinking to yourself, ‘You know, these guys are unbeatable. They’re invincible. Despite airstrikes, they’re taking major cities. Why would I join a losing side? It’s better for me to flee into Turkey, or Jordan, or Lebanon or anywhere for that matter,’ ” he said. “It would be deeply demoralizing to this effort to allow them to take territory.”