FACT CHECK: Video Claims To Show Barack Obama Saying US Trained ISIS

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A video shared on X claims former President Barack Obama said the United States trained the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Verdict: Misleading

While Obama said during the press briefing that the U.S. was training ISIS forces, the former president meant Iraqi forces. The press briefing was about his administration’s efforts to combat ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Fact Check:

ISIS took credit for a terrorist attack on a Moscow concert hall that killed at least 137 people, according to The Washington Post. A U.S. official told the outlet that they did not have reason to doubt ISIS’s claim they carried out the attack, the outlet reported.

Social media users are claiming that a video shows Obama “openly admitting” to training ISIS forces. One user wrote, “OBAMA OPENLY ADMITTING TO TRAINING ISIS FORCES, THEN REBRANDED ISIL.”

This claim, though, is misleading. The video does show Obama saying that the U.S. was training ISIS forces, but it was during a July 5, 2015 press briefing about his administration’s efforts to combat the terrorist organization.

“But the fall of Ramadi has galvanized the Iraqi government. So, with the additional steps I ordered last month, we’re speeding up training of ISIL [Iraqi] forces, including volunteers from Sunni tribes in Anbar Province,” Obama said, according to the transcript (Emphasis added by Check Your Fact.)

It is clear from the press briefing that Obama meant Iraqi, and the White House transcript uses brackets to showcase this. He further says that other “Sunni volunteers are coming forward. Some are already being trained, and they can be a new force against ISIL.” (RELATED: Donald Trump Claims He Defeated ISIS In 4 Weeks)

The U.S. started bombing ISIS in August 2014, after the terrorist organization mounted an offensive that blitzed across northern Iraq, according to The New York Times. Those airstrikes were then expanded to Syria the next month, the Guardian reported.

The Iraqi government lost Ramadi in June 2015, but fully retook the city in January 2016, according to a study from the RAND Corporation.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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